Memory Loss in Old Age Is NOT Irreversible

Memory Loss in Old Age Is NOT Irreversible

According to a new study by American scientists, only a few doses of experimental drugs could reverse the age-related decline in memory and mental flexibility in mice. The drug, called ISRIB,  restored the memory function of animals suffering traumatic brain injury several months ago, reversed the cognitive impairment of patients with Down syndrome, and even enhanced the cognition of healthy animals in laboratory studies.

Peter Walter, a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco, believes that the data shows that the aging brain does not permanently lose basic cognitive abilities as commonly believed. These cognitive resources still exist, but are blocked to some extent due to the vicious cycle of cellular pressure. ISRIB’s research and development demonstrates a way to break this cycle and restore cognitive abilities that might have disappeared over time.

Walter has won numerous scientific awards for his research on cellular stress response for decades. ISRIB was discovered in 2013 by Walter’s laboratory. Its working principle is to restart cell protein production after cells are inhibited by a certain stress response. This cell quality control mechanism is called integrated stress response (ISR). ISRIB stands for Comprehensive Stress Response Inhibitor.

Recent animal studies conducted by Walter have shown that long-term ISR activation is associated with persistent cognitive and behavioral deficits after traumatic brain injury. A brief ISRIB treatment on mice restored normal brain function almost overnight.

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