Altering the critical period for learning languages and music

From experience to meaning...

Let’s start of with a big warning: this is a study on mice that if true sounds very promising, but doesn’t mean you’ll be able to buy a medicine next week to make it easier to learn. It does mean that one day this could be the case, but we’re still a long way to go. Ok, now you’ve had this big warning, the actual information: Scientists have discovered that curtailing activity of the neuromodulator adenosine extends the critical period of auditory learning in mice and offers promising results for humans.

From the press release:

Learning language or music is usually a breeze for children, but as even young adults know, that capacity declines dramatically with age. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital scientists have evidence from mice that restricting a key chemical messenger in the brain helps extend efficient auditory learning much later in life.

Researchers showed that limiting the…

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