A bee fix for an aging brain

Has your brain gone into retirement ?

No doubt about it, the more birthdays you’ve celebrated, the more brain bits give up working optimally.

Fancy imaging technologies will verify the deficits are routed in biological changes and are not just psychological. Even old healthy brains show wiring changes…..

But old brains can bee “fixed”….

“Fixing” bee brains

Just like humans, bee brains, slowly deteriorate with the passing of time, producing a habit of forgetting things.

But bee brain biology can be changed.

Norwegian researchers found a way to turn geriatric bees – into spring chickens bees.

Being a bee

Bees have very complex societies – a bee’s destiny is determined by it’s diet.

  • A bee destined to be a queen – gets fed only the best food, which allows her to pick up weight and become an egg laying machine.
  • A bee destined to be a worker – gets fed a more ordinary ration. She grows up with a strong body and an even stronger work ethic.

The job she is assigned, is based on age.

Young worker bees do domestic jobs, while mature worker bees, fly the coop in search of nectar.

I want to bee a baby sitter

Taking care of bee babies is a job that is simple. (Baby bees don’t have temper tantrums and suffer from ADHD). Nurse bees remain competent, as long as they remain on the job.

But just like human beings – being a baby sitter brings a little pocket money, but is a little short on adrenaline.

Bees want to “SEE” the world.

Grown up bees fly

Being stuck in the nest is a drag, so worker bees work hard, to get their wings and leave the nest as “foragers”.

But being “promoted” to a forager, brings the bee face to face with THE REAL WORLD.

The daily commute to gather nectar, while avoiding the many environmental hazards, both natural and man made, leaves the average worker bee OLD and TIRED. Wings are worn, bodies are hairless and brain’s are frazzled. You can’t teach old bees new tricks – remembering what that new nectar stash smells like and how to get it, becomes increasingly difficult.

Two weeks in the field, sees bee bodies, and brain’s, ravaged by the demands of living in THE REAL WORLD.

Brain buzz is buzzed out

So living in the REAL WORLD is rewarding but aging – for both man and bee.

But can the aging be reversed ?

This is the million dollar question …….

A little trickery, by the scientific team, proved bee brain’s can be rejuvenated.

The baby sitters go on strike

The team “persuaded” the baby sitters, to go on strike, by forcefully removing them from the hive.

When the forager bees returned from their hard day, labouring in the field, they were greeted by the loud cries of hundreds of very hungry grubs and a pompous queen.

Chaos reined. It was a hive full of unhappiness.

But, after a day or two, the OLD BEES made a plan.

A BEE makes a plan

Some of the OLD BEES gave up their job in THE REAL WORLD and went back to taking care of the queen and her babes.

The amazing thing – the bees that went back to baby sitting, were not just old bees doing young bee work. Looking after the baby bees “turned” the old brains, which had been battling to assimilate anything new, into learning machines.

The better thinking was due to changes in brain chemistry. Specifically the levels of a protein known as Prx6 were bumped up.

NOTE : Prx6 is also found in human brains and higher levels are believed to protect the brain from dementia.

Thinking like a beeold bee in a rocking chair

You often hear people suggest, AGE is a state of mind.

Apply a little BEE WISDOM to your life !

Get out of that rocking chair and do something you haven’t done for ages.

You might just find you brain has aged less.

Age-related learning deficits can be reversible in honeybees Apis mellifera. Experimental Gerontology (2012) Nicholas Baker, Florian Wolschin, Gro V. Amdam. 

Interested in learning more about the chemistry behind foggy thinking?

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Dr. Sandy Evans, PhD

Dr. Sandy Evans, PhD

Located in Johannesburg, South Africa, Dr Sandy Evans is a pharmacologist who makes “medicines” user friendly. She has taught at all the major universities in Gauteng area and presented for organisations such as AfricaBio. Dr Evans’ presentation and speaking style is refreshingly informal and uniquely engaging. She involves her audience directly as few professional speakers can, making complex issues understandable in a delightfully common-sense and humourous manner. Her entertaining insights and delivery make her an unforgettable speaker. You can count on Dr Sandy to create a memorable and transforming programme for your organisation. The insights and wisdom she shares represents a credibility born out of extensive academic research and profound personal experience.

Disclaimer : The stories and articles are provided as a service. Dr Sandy's opinions are for information only, and are not intended to diagnose or prescribe. For your specific diagnosis and treatment, consult your doctor or health care provider.

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