As we age, problems seep in, and one of the grave concerns is Memory Loss. The Researchers at the Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) might be closer to resolving that problem. In their recent research project involving older and younger mice, they discovered that injecting a hormone produced by bone cells can restore memory loss. The researchers have also discovered a receptor for that hormone in the brain, making such a reversal on memory loss possible. The detailed results of their research were published this week in the online edition of the "Journal of Experimental Medicine".

Bones as a hormone source

Attempts at restoring the memory have been something humanity has been focusing and several studies have been carried out in this regard. Recently, the scientists found the beneficial effects of green tea on human memory. Nevertheless, recovering memory at an older age on a long-term basis has been quite elusive.

The recent research at the CUMC, led by Dr. Gerard Karsenty and Eric Kandel, MD, brings hope that a more permanent solution to the problem can be found. The bone is an organ of the endocrine system, which encompasses glands that produce hormones, thereby controlling our metabolism.

Another research also showed that osteocalcin, a hormone that is also produced by bones, plays multiple roles in the body, including memory. It was also established that this hormone starts to decline in humans during early adulthood. As Dr. Karsenty says, the key question put before the team was "Could memory loss be reversed by restoring this hormone back to youthful levels?”

Older mice started regaining their memory

During the research, the first breakthrough for the team came when it identified a receptor for osteocalcin in the brain.

To investigate the possibility of recovering the memory, older mice were continuously injected with osteocalcin for two months. The results were more than encouraging. The injected older mice showed greatly improved performance on two different memory tests, reaching levels that were previously exhibited only by the younger mice. If the older mice were only given plasma from young mice that were deficient in osteocalcin, there was no improvement in memory.

The team researched another variation. They added osteocalcin into the plasma before injecting older mice, and again, the results were visibly improved.

One of the key things that Dr. Karsenty points out is that the team did not observe any toxic effects, which is attributed to the fact that this hormone is a natural part of our body, so it should be safe. The research, however, is still in its early stages.

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