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Gene Mutation May Speed Learning
Date:10/12/2009

called Met/Met.

COMT encodes for an enzyme that breaks down dopamine and other neurotransmitters. Drugs known as COMT inhibitors are used to treat Parkinson's and other disorders.

"This is not something that's going to be a cure right now," said Gerald Frye, a neuropharmacology and neurotoxicology professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine. "It's better understanding how the brain works and how a polymorphism [like the ones studied here] could make a difference in who you are as far as how you're brain works."

The dynamics identified by the study are just one part of a larger whole, experts said.

"They're pulling out one part of the brain-mind interface," Frye explained. "Brain programs like this are like players in the orchestra. Each one has a part to play. This may mean that the Val/Val may be a more strident player in the symphony, [but] this is just one player out of the symphony."

More information

The Franklin Institute has more on the human brain.



SOURCES: Paul Sanberg, Ph.D., D.Sc., professor, neurosurgery, and director, University of South Florida Center for Aging and Brain Repair, Tampa, Fla.; Gerald Frye, Ph.D., Joseph H. Shelton professor of neuropharmacology and neurotoxicology, Department of Neuroscience and Therapeutics, Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, College Station, Texas; Oct. 12-16, 2009, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences


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