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March 31, 2004
Cogniceutical Improves Verbal Memory in Older Men
Nature and The New Scientist report on a new cogniceutical based on a liquorice extract that improves memory in older men. The substance works by blocking the activity of a brain enzyme that boosts levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This hormone is thought to be responsible for eroding memory with age.
The drug, called carbenoxolone, was once used to treat stomach ulcers. But when given to men aged between 55 and 75 it sharpened their verbal memories within weeks. "You get subtle but definite improvements," says Jonathan Seckl who led the study at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. Verbal memory, he explains, is needed for remembering recently received information, and is "crucial to normal functioning" - for example, recalling the time of an appointment.
Seckl believes such compounds may be available for the elderly within five years to help improve memory and possibly even treat dementia. "A lot of fine ideas get stuck between animal models and the first clinical trial, but we have at least got preliminary [human] data suggesting it would be a good idea," he told New Scientist."
I wonder how carbenoxolone would impact the memory of a younger person?
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