Memory deficits are common after mild to moderate traumatic brain injuries, especially in relation to the ability to acquire and retain new information. Past animal studies have found that placing a brain-injured animal in an environmentally enriched setting will enhance memory recovery.
In a recent animal study, scientists compared memory performance of rats placed within an environmentally enriched setting versus rats that were given simvastatin-a drug used to lower cholesterol. They found that rats in the environmentally enriched setting were able to recognize new objects, but the improvement was seen only within a short time period (one minute). Rats that were given simvastatin showed improvement were able to recognize new objects, as well as recognize time sequenced tasks, and the improvement lasted even after a longer time period (60 minutes) had elapsed.
Using both environmentally enriched settings and an administration of simvastatin may therefore be a promising long-term treatment for memory deficits after a traumatic brain injury.
Darwish A, Mahmood A, et al. Simvastatin and environmental enrichment effect on recognition and temporal order memory after mild-to-moderate traumatic brain injury. Brain Injury. (February 2014).