A scientist in Norway has been successful in reversing the ageing process in the brain of a bee. Professor Gro Amdam found that although older bees already have the responsibility of gathering food outside the hive for the rest of the colony, they do have the ability to learn new tasks and improve their memory. Believe it or not, the structure and inner-workings of a bee's brain is remarkably similar to that of a human being's, so Prof. Amdam believes that if she can crack bee brain ageing, she might be able to unlock the key to human dementia.
Professor Amdam is based at two universities: Arizona State in the US and Norway's University of Life Sciences. Part of the experiment involved placing the older bees inside hives to tend to the larvae, normally the work of younger bees. The older bees took to their new tasks well, though.
There was also a higher level of eight particular proteins that contribute to the growth, repair and maintenance of cells in the brains of those bees who had improved their learning when given the task within their colony.
The next stage in the research could be to create a substance that acts like the bee proteins, for use in humans and other animals, but Professor Amdam is currently waiting to hear from potential partners in furthering the research.