Washington: In a breakthrough, researchers including an Indian-origin scientist have discovered a novel way to turn an old brain young by flipping a single molecular switch. The flip of a single molecular switch helps create the mature neuronal connections that allow the brain to bridge the gap between adolescent impressionability and adult stability. Now Yale School of Medicine researchers have reversed the process, recreating a youthful brain that facilitated both learning and healing in the adult mouse.Scientists have long known that the young and old brains are very different. Adolescent brains are more malleable or plastic, which allows them to learn languages more quickly than adults and speeds recovery from brain injuries. The comparative rigidity of the adult brain results in part from the function of a single gene that slows the rapid change in synaptic connections between neurons. By monitoring the synapses in living mice over weeks and months, Yale researchers have identified the key genetic switch, reported in the journal Neuron.
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