As people age, their working memory often declines, making it more difficult to perform everyday tasks. One key brain region linked to this type of memory is the anterior thalamus, which is primarily involved in spatial memory — memory of our surroundings and how to navigate them.
In a study of mice, MIT researchers have identified a circuit in the anterior thalamus that is necessary for remembering how to navigate a maze. The researchers also found that this circuit is weakened in older mice, but enhancing its activity greatly improves their ability to run the maze correctly.
This region could offer a promising target for treatments that could help reverse memory loss in older people, without affecting other parts of the brain, the researchers say.
“By understanding how the thalamus controls cortical output, hopefully we could find more specific and druggable targets in this area,…