[Source: Medical News Today]
A learning technique that maximizes the brain’s ability to make and store memories may help overcome cognitive issues seen in fragile X syndrome, a leading form of intellectual disability, according to UC Irvine neurobiologists.
Christine Gall, Gary Lynch and colleagues found that fragile X model mice trained in three short, repetitious episodes spaced one hour apart performed as well on memory tests as normal mice. These same fragile X rodents performed poorly on memory tests when trained in a single, prolonged session – which is a standard K-12 educational practice in the U.S.
“These results are dramatic and never seen before. Fragile X model mice trained using this method had memory scores equal to those of control animals,” said Gall, professor of anatomy & neurobiology and neurobiology & behavior. “Our findings suggest an easily implemented, noninvasive strategy for treating an important component of the cognitive problems found in patients with fragile X syndrome.”
Fragile X syndrome is an inherited genetic condition that causes intellectual and developmental disabilities and is commonly associated with autism. Symptoms include difficulty learning new skills or information.
It’s been known since classic 19th century educational psychology studies that people learn better when using multiple, short training episodes rather than one extended session.