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Disrupted spatial memory is a consequence of picornavirus infection.

An animal model study suggests that over the lifetime of an individual, picornavirus-related infections could have a permanent effect on memory late in life. Picornaviruses infect more than one billion people worldwide each year. In the study, mice were infected with Theilers murine encephalomyelitis virus. Mice that contracted the virus had difficulty learning to navigate a maze designed to test various components of spatial memory, the degree of memory impairment, ranging from no discernable damage to complete devastation and correlated to the number of dead brain cells in the hippocampus region of the brain. Clinical studies indicate that picornavirus infections in humans may be associated with inflammation of the brain and damage to the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for forming, storing and processing memory. Neurobiology of Disease doi:10.1016/j.nbd.2006.07.003.

Author: Buenz EJ

Published: 01/01/2006

Publication Type: Journal article

Publisher: Neurobiology of Disease