Improving MemorySupport this project
Ageing produces a decline in memory. Age-related degeneration, for example in Alzheimer’s disease, produces a devastating loss of memory. There has been a growing recognition that memory loss is associated with declining function in the brain’s “retrosplenial cortex”. This region is located at the back of the brain, near the midline in each hemisphere. It is strategically located and has connections with many other brain regions associated with memory.
Optogenetics, a gene-based therapy permitting highly targeted stimulation of specific neurons in a given region, may provide a basis of new treatments for memory impairment. Our project will use this technique to test the beneficial effects of stimulating the retrosplenial cortex in aged rats, as a model of memory decline in human ageing. We will use the theta rhythmic frequency, which is particularly associated with good memory performance in younger rats and so should improve memory in older ones.
We will then determine whether this stimulation has the same effect when it is restricted to initial learning only or to recall only. This project could provide a basis for further research on new therapeutics to improve memory affected by dementia and various neurological conditions such as stroke or severe head injury.