Scientists from the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto have discovered a molecular link between intelligence and curiosity, which may lead to the development of drugs to improve learning.Another part of the puzzle of how we think.
In a paper, published in Neuron, Dr. John Roder, Senior Investigator at the Lunenfeld, and Bechara Saab, Ph.D candidate at the Lunenfeld, studied the interaction of two proteins in a small region of the brain called the dentate gyrus (part of the hippocampus, which plays a role in long-term memory and spatial navigation).
For the study, the neuronal calcium sensor-1 (NCS-1), a protein which is known to affect the memory of worms and is linked to bipolar and schizophrenia in people, was increased by one-and-a-half fold specifically in the dentate gyrus of mouse models. This modest overexpression increased the ability of brain cells to change how they communicate with each other and gave the mice superior memory in complex tasks and a significant increase in exploratory behaviour (curiosity). Because the exploratory behaviour was only altered in safe environments, Dr. Roder and Saab believe they have discovered a region of the brain that generates curiosity and a model for how brain activity leads to curiosity.
Friday, 18 September 2009
A Brain post from The Medical News :