According to an article in Nature journal, researchers in the US have made a breakthrough that could potentially treat memory problems in the future.
Nerve connections that store information in the brain weaken in later life and lead to a decline in ‘working memory’ – the thing which helps us remember where we left our keys, or what our phone number is.
But the Yale University team found that the decline could be partially reversed with a drug, restoring the brain to a more youthful state.
A group of Rhesus monkeys from young to old were involved in the trials - which showed that the networks of nerves in the brain used to store information, slow down over time. The research analysed how nerve cell activity in the brain's prefrontal cortex changes over the years.
The reversal was achieved by blocking certain pathways, using the drug guanfacine (which decreases the body's release of adrenaline and other hormones that increase blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety and is sometimes used in the treatment of ADHD).
A clinical trial on humans is now planned to establish whether guanfacine can boost the working memory of older people.