U.K. Researchers Discover New Learning System That Could Help Treat Alzheimer’s

U.K. Researchers Discover New Learning System That Could Help Treat Alzheimer’s
New insights into how nerve cells communicate to control learning and memory are likely to affect how researchers view, and treat, neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. British researchers at universities in Bristol and Central Lancashire have discovered they can control a process known as long-term potentiation (LTP) — strengthening the connections between neurons — in a previously unknown way. The study, “Metabotropic action of postsynaptic kainate receptors triggers hippocampal long-term potentiation,” appeared in the journal Nature Neuroscience. "These discoveries represent a significant advance and will have far-reaching implications for the understanding of memory, cognition, developmental plasticity and neuronal network formation and stabilization,” Jeremy Henley, the study's senior author, said in a press release. “In summary, we believe that this is a groundbreaking study that opens new lines of inquiry which will increase understanding of the molecular details of synaptic function in health and disease," said Henley, who is also a professor of molecular neuroscience in the University of Bristol's School of Biochemistry. LTP forms the basis of learning, memory and brain plasticity. In essence, these are events that occur when a set of neurons becomes more active and the information flow across synapses (connections between neurons) increases. To make things easier on the brain, mechanisms exist that st
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