Where's That Viagra for Memory?

Nearly 20 years later, we’re still searching for the little blue pill for learning.

RELATED TAGS: MEMORY & LEARNING
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In June 2000, Discover published an article about how we could someday be speedier learners. Want to memorize a Shakespearean play? Just read it through once. Want to learn another language? Give yourself about a month. All this with the help of a memory-enhancing pill.

At the center of the article (“Smart Pills: How About a Little Viagra for Your Memory?”) was a protein called CREB, or cyclic AMP response element binding protein. It works as an on-switch in the brains of humans and many animals, promoting new connections between neurons to help build long-term memory.

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