Happiness hormone dopamine helps to remember memory

The happiness hormone dopamine helps memory to store memories better

A joint research project by the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) in Bonn and the University of Magdeburg found for the first time that the so-called happiness hormone dopamine manifests memories more efficiently in the human brain. The study could provide important therapeutic approaches in Alzheimer's research.

The activation of the hippocampus is required to code memories for new events. Apparently the hormone dopamine helps to better preserve memories in long-term memory. The results of a German research team from Bonn and Magdeburg can help to better understand diseases like Alzheimer's in the future. For example, it is known that there is a dopamine deficiency in Parkinson's.

Study contributes to a better understanding of Alzheimer's The scientific study has now been able to prove for the first time that dopamine works in the area of ​​long-term memory that is responsible for personal memories with its own involvement. “Incidentally, episodic memory is the part of our memory that is first affected by Alzheimer's disease. Therefore, our results also contribute to a better understanding of this disease, ”said Prof. Dr. Emrah Düzel from the Institute for Cognitive Neurology and Dementia Research at Magdeburg University.

Improved results due to artificial dopamine increase Women and men aged 65 to 75 years participated in one study. Half of the subjects were given a precursor of dopamine intravenously. The other participants received a placebo as a comparison group. In this way, the researchers were able to specifically increase the dopamine level in the brain - especially since its level is naturally low in people of advanced age and many older people suffer from memory problems. "The nerve cells that produce dopamine decrease with age," said Düzel. “If the dopamine concentration is artificially increased, there should be a clear effect. Especially with older people. ”The neuroscientist gives another reason for the decision to conduct the study with seniors:“ In old age, the episodic memory diminishes. That is why the topic we are investigating is particularly relevant for older people. ”

The researchers then carried out a memory test with all participants. The test subjects with the hormone preparation performed significantly better than the comparison group, who only took a dummy drug. According to the researchers, the "assumption that dopamine helps to permanently store memories is confirmed," said neuroscientist Emrah Düzel. Dopamine "improves the chances of survival of memory content".

The studies can also provide new insights into the formation of memory, say the scientists. In addition, it can now be seen why memories fade in the course of Alzheimer's disease. For this reason, the results are very important because they contribute to a better understanding of Alzheimer's, as the authors write in the journal "Journal of Neuroscience".

Happiness hormone dopamine Dopamine is a messenger substance produced by the body that conveys information between nerve cells and between muscle and nerve cells. If the transmission is disrupted, the health consequences for the patient can be pronounced. For example, Parkinson's patients suffer from the typical tremor due to a clear lack of hormones. If people are motivated and balanced on the emotional level, high doses of dopamine are released. For this reason, the hormone is also called "happiness hormone" in the vernacular. (sb)

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Image: Dieter Schütz / pixelio.de

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