Flowers For Algernon

Flowers For Algernon

So, I my recent post about blood of the young offering the promise of longevity netted the following comment by one of our astute readers, Kim:

Flowers for Algernon, anyone?

For anyone not familiar with the story, a mentally retarded man is given an operation to increase his intellect. In the story the operation is first performed on a mouse named Algernon, then on Charly Gordon, played by Cliff Robertson in the movie version “Charly.” Robertson won the Academy Award for his portrayal and I recommend it highly.

But this is not movie minute. The reason for this posting is results of a separate study I heard on NPR has stated:

Anti-Aging Hormone Could Make You Smarter

May 08, 2014

A hormone associated with longevity also appears to make people’s brains work better.

The in Cell Reports could someday lead to drugs that improve memory and learning, researchers say.

“We’ve discovered a way to potentially boost cognition,” says , one of the study’s authors who does research on aging and the brain at the University of California, San Francisco. And that could mean “a very new way to treat diseases,” ranging from Alzheimer’s to schizophrenia, she says.

The hormone is named Klotho, after the Fate from Greek mythology who spins the thread of life. Scientists have known for more than a decade that people and animals tend to live longer if they have high levels of Klotho in their bodies.

Again, the early research has been done in mice.

To learn more, the team began studying mice that had been genetically engineered to produce high levels of the mouse version of Klotho. And this time, the researchers got exactly the result they hoped for. “Elevating klotho made the mice smarter across all the cognitive tests that we put them through,” Dubal says

For anyone interested there is another movie on this subject. From 2011 it is called “Limitless” about a drug that enhances all brain activity.

One day there will be a pill for everything.

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Henry Paterson