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From the Editor
Editor's Note
 
Memory News
Fatty food weighs down muscles and memory
 
Pumping Neurons: Exercise to maintain a healthy brain
The evidence is growing that moderate regular exercise boosts memory and other brain functions and may help prevent age-related declines.
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How Parkinsonís disease affects the mind

It’s not just a movement disorder. Besides causing tremors and other motion-related symptoms, Parkinson’s disease affects memory, learning, and behavior.

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Creative healing: art therapy for Alzheimer's disease and other dementias
As medical science races to cure dementia, storytelling and other creative activities promise a better quality of life for the millions already diagnosed.
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Memory Tip
Medicate Your Memory
Glossary
Acetylcholine (ACh)
 

Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter, one of the chemicals that neurons use to communicate with each other.

In the body, acetylcholine is the primary neurotransmitter which nerves use to signal muscles to initiate or cease movement. Botulinism toxin, the substance that causes botulism, works by preventing the release of acetylcholine in the body; this can paralyze respiratory muscles, causing suffocation and death. The venom of the black widow spider causes an equally lethal overrelease of acetylcholine -- flooding the system.

In the brain, acetylcholine is produced in several locations including the basal forebrain. It may promote learning. Acetylcholine-producing cells in the basal forebrain are damaged in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, which may contribute to the memory impairments which are an early symptom of the disease. The drugs tacrine (brand name Cognex) and donepezil (trade name Aricept), currently marketed as Alzheimer's drugs, are cholinesterase inhibitors, meaning that they increase the effectiveness of acetylcholine in the brain.



by Catherine E. Myers. Copyright © 2006 Memory Loss and the Brain