Cognitive disorders are slowly spreading in large parts of the world, as societies base their workings on highly stressful environments. Eating disorders are also known to cause cognitive distress, along with insomnia and other unpredictable day-to-day happenings that make our minds go wild. Schizophrenia, depression, Alzheimer’s, dementia, are all diseases of the brain and in recent years we have seen them grow and affect an increasing number of individuals.
Scientists have managed to unlock a secret of the brain, namely a particular enzyme that can save us the trouble of mental disorders when inhibited. They have discovered the enzyme in mice. All that needs to be done in the case of these little creatures in order to enhance their cognitive abilities, is to inhibit the activity of phosphodiesterase. Mice that had the enzyme inhibited learnt faster, remembered events for longer and solved complex exercises much better than normal mice.
Researchers have found that the analyzed mice were also less likely to feel anxiety or recall fear. This could help researchers find new cures and treatments for pathological fear, such as PTSD. The results of the study are amazing, hence researchers are now working to develop drugs that will work to inhibit the enzyme and potentially help people with cognitive disorders.
The team of experts has basically managed to create highly intelligent mice by altering a single gene. Expertise was led by the University of Leeds and Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto and the detailed analysis is published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.
Phosphodiesterase is the secret enzyme that could form a new basis in treatments for age-related cognitive decline, cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia and a list of other disorders that play with our brain and degrade our cognitive workings. The only drawback encountered is a lower degree of recall of a fearful event after several days, compared to ordinary mice.
On a common basis, mice are fearful of cats, but the enzyme inhibited mice showed a dramatically decreased fear response to cat urine, suggesting that one effect of inhibiting could be an increase in risk taking behavior. This sounds amazing though, as us, humans, are covered in fear and most of the times we miss great chances to actually become great, due to the barriers we set in our minds. Efforts are paid off, as scientists discover new ways to treat cognitive disorders and offer great chances of healing for individuals who are highly exposed to anxiety, anguish, depression, fear and ultimately more severe cognitive disorders.
Image Source: newsoffice.mit.edu