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A single molecule appears to reverse age-related mental decline in rats

A single molecule may account for the mental rustiness that accompanies aging. The molecule, called FKBP1b, appears to reverse memory shortfalls and enhance learning, at least in rats tackling a maze, The Scientist reports. When scientists delivered the molecule to a central memory station in the rats’ brains, hundreds of genes turned on there, and the pattern of which genes were on and which were off more closely resembled those of younger, more mentally agile rats than aged ones, they report in The Journal of Neuroscience. Researchers say the finding suggests that aging in the brain happens because the amount of this one molecule goes down; they’re working out why that is in upcoming studies.

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