Monday, February 27, 2006

"Discovery of molecule that may hold key to learning and memory"
"Independent research teams from Harvard Medical School and Children's Hospital Boston have identified a master protein that sheds light on one of neurobiology's biggest mysteries--how neurons change as a result of individual experiences.
The research, which appears in two papers in Science, identifies a central protein that regulates the growth and pruning of neurons throughout life in response to environmental stimuli. This protein, and the molecular pathway it guides, could help investigators understand the process of learning and memory, as well as lead to new therapies for diseases in which synapses either fail to form or run rampant, such as autism, neurodegenerative diseases, and psychiatric disorders."