Scientists Identify Memory-Boosting Chemical

Monday, 17 Jun 2013 05:39 PM

By Nick Tate

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A team of University of California scientists have identified a small drug-like molecule that has been shown to improve memory, based on a study of mice that could have profound implications for patients with dementia and other disorders that rob individuals of their ability to remember.
 
The team, led by Peter Walter, a UC-San Francisco professor of biochemistry and biophysics, found mice injected with the molecule scored better on memory tests than those who weren’t treated with the chemical.
 
The finding, published online in the journal eLife, suggest a person’s ability to remember can be improved and enhanced.

Special: How One Deck of Cards Has Shown to Improve Memory.
 
The memory-boosting chemical was singled out from among 100,000 chemicals screened at the Small Molecule Discovery Center at UCSF for their potential to boost learning and memory. The researchers dubbed the chemical ISRIB — short for integrated stress response inhibitor.
 
"ISRIB … exhibits no overt toxicity in mice, which makes it very useful for studies in mice," Walter said, noting the studies to date might serve as a good starting point for human drug development.

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