Medicine For Memory Loss

At 85, Victor Baccari, ballroom dances four days a week and doesn't miss a step. It's his memory, he says, that trips him up.

He says he can't remember when he started to notice that his memory was fading. It's a normal part of the aging process, and an annoying one.

"Like, I might forget where I put my cell phone, and I have to think .. 'Wait a minute, where did I put that thing?'"

So Victor is having his memory monitored for research into what medical science might do for an aging brain.

As CBS News Correspondent Elizabeth Kaledin reports, neurobiologist Tim Tully of Helicon is at the forefront of a revolution that is trying to change the way we look at age-related memory loss.

"If you can understand how it works, then it's possible to make drugs to improve it when it goes awry,'' says Tully. "Now there's a growing belief that memory and memory loss is just another treatable condition."

To prove it, Tully and his colleagues are using mice to test a drug they developed, measuring their ability to remember the location of a platform hidden in a pool of water.

"We know that it works in animal models to improve memory," says Tully. "Now we have to show that it's safe as a chemical to put into humans."

Tully -- who started his experiments with fruitflies -- plans to move from mice to men this summer. And if the human trials prove succesful, Tully is sure the market will be enormous.

"Anything that can keep a 65-year-old functioning competitively with the 30-year-old young buck in the office is obviously going to be something that older people want," says Tully.

Victor Bacari wants to be first in line to try it out.

"So, you don't want to sort of sit there and let your memory decline?" asks Kaledin.

"No, no, no, no."

"Why not?

"Well, that's no good. I mean, what kind of fun would that be?"

Bacari thinks a pill would be the perfect solution for him. And Tully says we're on the way.

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