US scientists find how brain cells regulate memories in mice

WASHINGTON - The U.S. scientists have mapped a part of the molecular machinery that helps the brain maintain long-term memories, providing new targets against Alzheimer’s disease characterized by memory loss.

The study published on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, outlined how a protein called CPEB3 primes neurons to store memories that stand the test of time in mouse cells.

The findings offered a never-before-seen view into one of the brain’s most universal and basic cellular functions.

“At its core, memory is a biological process, not unlike a heartbeat. With today’s study, we’ve shed new light on the molecular underpinnings behind our brain’s ability to make, keep and recall memories over the course of our lives,” said the study’s co-senior author Eric Kandel, professor of brain science at Columbia University.

Kandel’s team found in a previous study that CPEB3 plays a critical role in strengthening synapses, the connection points where tiny branches of neurons connect to each other when all memories are made.

When they prevented mice from making CPEB3, those animals could form a new memory but could not keep it intact, according to the researchers.

Within the hippocampus, which is the brain’s memory center, CPEB3 is produced at regular intervals inside the centers of neurons. Kandel’s team found that once CPEB3 is produced it

Low blood sugar may keep some cancers at bay

WASHINGTON - An international team of biologists suggested that having diet low in sugar might keep certain cancers in check. The study published on Tuesday in the journal Cell Reports showed that restricting blood glucose levels in mice with a kind of lung cancer kept tumors from progressing. The team led by scientists at the University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) fed the mice a ketogenic diet, which is very low in sugar, and by giving them a diabetes drug that prevents glucose in the blood from being reabsorbed by the kidneys.

They found that the further growth of squamous cell carcinoma tumors in mice with lung cancer was inhibited, although they were not shrunk.