Working memory, the ability to hold a thought in mind even through distraction, is the foundation of abstract reasoning and a defining characteristic of the human brain. It is also impaired in disorders such as schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Now Yale researchers have found a key molecule that helps neurons maintain information in working memory, which could lead to potential treatments for neurocognitive disorders, they report March 19 in the journal Neuron.
“Working memory arises from neuronal circuits in the prefrontal cortex,” said senior author Min Wang, senior research scientist in neuroscience. “We have been learning that these circuits have special molecular maintenance requirements.”