Have you ever struggled to recall a name or face?  Or the details of a past event?

If so, you certainly are not alone.  

According to health experts, memory loss begins in the 30s for many people.  And all jokes aside about being "over the hill" at 30, this type of memory loss is very real and very frustrating for those affected.  New research indicates that for many folks, it may simply be a normal sign of aging, and researchers may be one step closer to understanding how to slow down or even reverse the process.

Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center in New York recently took a look at the brains of organ donors between the ages of 22 and 88.  They looked for differences that might account for age-related memory loss.  In their examinations, they found 17 genes whose activity level changed with age. One gene in particular, was responsible for making a protein called RbAp48, which became less active with time.  Experiments with mice suggested similar results.

To test their theory that the lack of this protein played a role in memory loss, the researchers genetically engineered young mice to have low RbAp48 levels.  They found that these mice performed as poorly as much older mice in memory tests.  But by boosting RbAp48 levels in older mice, researchers found that they could halt and even reverse this memory decline.  

The study, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, said this type of age-related memory loss was a separate condition to Alzheimer's disease, a neurodegenerative condition characterized by tangled proteins and the buildup of plaques within the brain.

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