New findings by researchers involving the so-called DREAM gene may help to explain the workings of Alzheimer's disease and possible bring about new treatments for the condition in the future.
The gene was first identified in 2002 by scientists in Toronto and was called the Downstream Regulatory Element Antagonistic Modulator (DREAM).
It was found the gene functions as a key regulator in the perception of pain. During testing, mice that lacked the gene showed reduced sensitivity to all kinds of pain.
Now it appears researchers have found the gene may influence learning and memory.
Josef Penniger led a new research time and found that mice lacking the DREAM gene also appeared to learn faster and remember better when compared to mice who had it. Penninger also found the brains of older mice (18 months) were learning at the same capacity as younger mice.
"It is absolutely fascinating that we found a gene which at the same time regulates pain, learning and old age memory function and it is of great interest to the millions of people suffering from chronic pain that we follow up on these results," Penniger said.