Scientists at the University of Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto are developing a new drug that could potentially treat memory loss and poor decision-making that come with old age. Initial tests in the lab show that old animals exhibited improved memory skills within half an hour of receiving the treatment, while shrunken brain cells grew back two months later. Clinical trials on humans are expected to begin in two years. If everything goes according to plan, people over 55 would take this drug as a daily pill that could delay the onset of Alzheimer’s or memory loss due to old age, as well as some mental disorders.
The drug is designed to target the GABA neurotransmitters in the hippocampus, a part of the brain involved in cognitive processes. However, tests show that it only affects older and stressed animals, and doesn’t provide any cognitive boost to young, healthy ones.