Memory is a polygenic trait that enables humans to learn and remember information. A novel genome-wide association study performed in 2006 implicated that a polymorphism in the KIBRA gene was associated with enhanced episodic memory. Very little detail is known about the pathways to which this gene contributes; however, research implicates that the cytoplasmic protein plays a structural role in neurons. Recent studies examining the gene’s association with memory performance are consistent and age-independent in healthy individuals; however, conflicting results when examining subjects with impaired memory suggest KIBRA’s effects are complex. Although one memory-enhancing therapy has suggested based upon these findings, future research must focus on the genetic and molecular mechanisms through which KIBRA acts. Greater understanding of these pathways will allow for the discovery and understanding of therapies that can potentially treat non-disabling memory declines associated with healthy aging, as well as impaired memory associated with diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
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