Memories lost during the early stages of Alzheimer's are still stored in the brain and may even be recoverable, according to researchers at MIT.
Writing in the journal Nature, the neuroscientists explain that Alzheimer's patients can form new memories just as well as those who don't suffer from the disease, the issue is being unable to access those memories.
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Susumu Tonegawa, the study's senior author, said, "The important point is, this a proof of concept. That is, even if a memory seems to be gone, it is still there. It's a matter of how to retrieve it."
To that end, the results appear promising.
Notable people with Alzheimer's:
Notable people with Alzheimer's
Study: Memories lost during early stages of Alzheimer's may be recoverable
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The researchers were able to stimulate the recall of certain fearful memories in mice using optogenetics—an invasive light-based procedurethat's presently considered too dangerous for human trials.
Still, researchers are hopeful about the potential of being able to reverse early-stage Alzheimer's-induced memory loss—in humans—in the future.