Tests in lab mice have identified a single chemical that can be manipulated to extend the period during which people would acquire new languages with the ease of children, portending a nootropic drug revolution.
By disrupting adenosine signaling in the auditory thalamus, we have extended the window for auditory learning for the longest period yet reported, well into adulthood and far beyond the usual critical period in mice," said corresponding author Stanislav Zakharenko, M.D., Ph.D., a member of the St. Jude Department of Developmental Neurobiology. "These results offer a promising strategy to extend the same window in humans to acquire language or musical ability by restoring plasticity in critical regions of the brain, possibly by developing drugs that selectively block adenosine activity."The paper is:
Jay A. Blundon, et al., "Restoring auditory cortex plasticity in adult mice by restricting thalamic adenosine signaling." Science, 2017 DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf4612