Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A Pill That Makes People Learn New Skills as Fast as Children

"A clinical study by researchers at Boston Children's Hospital is testing a drug usually used to treat Alzheimer's, to see if it will help subjects learn new skills as quickly and easily as a young child.

According to her mother, the drug called donepezil, has improved the eyesight of an adolescent girl, who is suffering from a serious vision disorder that can usually only be treated at a young age.

Another study by some of the same researchers gave 24 tone deaf subjects with no musical training a dose of either the epilepsy drug valproate, or a placebo.

After being taught various notes, the group that took valproate could reportedly remember just over 5 musical notes compared to 3 point 5 in the placebo group.

Takao Hensch, a professor of cellular biology from Harvard University who is also working with the Boston Children's Hospital trial is quoted as saying: "The brain is not losing its plasticity forever as we grow older. It's the brain's job to be elastic, and it wants to rewire. But through evolution, it's created a lot of molecules to make sure it doesn't rewire too much."

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