ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Older honey bees effectively reverse brain aging when they take on nest responsibilities typically handled by much younger bees, according to a new study. AFP photo
Scientists at Arizona State University (ASU) have discovered that older honey bees effectively reverse brain aging when they take on nest responsibilities typically handled by much younger bees, sciencedaily.com has reported.
While current research on human age-related dementia focuses on potential new drug treatments, researchers say these findings suggest that social interventions may be used to slow or treat age-related dementia.
A team of scientists from ASU and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, led by Gro Amdam, an associate professor in ASU’s School of Life Sciences, presented findings that show that tricking older, foraging bees into doing social tasks inside the nest causes changes in the molecular structure of their brains. He said:
“After a period of nursing, bees fly out gathering food and begin aging very quickly. After just two weeks, foraging bees have worn wings, hairless bodies, and more importantly, lose brain function , basically measured as the ability to learn new things. We wanted to find out if there was plasticity in this aging pattern.”
During experiments, scientists removed all of the younger nurse bees from the nest , leaving only the queen and babies. When the older, foraging bees returned to the nest, activity diminished for several days. Then, some of the old bees returned to searching for food, while others cared for the nest and larvae. Researchers discovered that after 10 days, about 50 percent of the older bees caring for the nest and larvae had significantly improved their ability to learn new things. Now researchers are interested in creating a drug that could help people maintain brain function, yet they may be facing up to 30 years of basic research and trials, sciencedaily.com reported.