A new scientific discovery could lead to treatments being developed for Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.
Researchers from California have established that when the part of the brain which forms memories, the amygdala, is damaged through injury, another region compensates.
This area, known as bed nuclei, is very slow at learning in normal conditions but with no amygdala it performs much more quickly.
In an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, study leader Michael Fanselow said that this discovery could allow them to develop treatments for dementia.
"If we can find ways of promoting this compensation, then we may be in a better position to help patients who have lost memory function due to brain damage, such as those who have Alzheimer's disease," he said.
A separate study recently established that people with more education have a reduced dementia risk because their brains are better able to withstand changes associated with the disease.
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