Imagine being able to learn a new language as easily as an infant or toddler can. How about learning a musical instrument? St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital scientists have discovered how one day that may be possible.
The approach involves limiting the activity of a chemical messenger in a key part of the brain. That messenger is adenosine. When researchers reduced or limited adenosine’s activity in a certain brain region, mice could learn from sound much later in life.
“The findings offer a promising strategy to extend the same window for auditory learning in humans,” said Stanislav Zakharenko, MD, PhD, of the St. Jude Department of Developmental Neurobiology. That strategy might involve developing drugs to block adenosine’s activity.
The research appeared in the journal Science.