We Can Reverse Aging In Bees’ Brains. Humans Next?

Listen man, I know this is a fucking fluffy pseudoscientific article. I know it is. But let me have this. As I march towards oblivion with the rest of you, I want to believe anything that suggests that science will find a way to stem the mindrot sometime soon, if not the bodyrot.

Apparently by changing shit up with bees’ fixed routines, their minds can regain some flexibility and acuity. And not that I fucking knew this, but apparently bees have minds not unlike our own. WHatever the fuck that means. So yeah! This could help us fight dementia. Or something. Maybe.


Norwegian researcher Gro Amdam had groups of older bees take part in learning and memory tests. The bees were challenged to associate a particular scent with a particular reward, and then be able to remember that association later on. Most of the older bees were able to make the connection, but more slowly than their younger counterparts, and those bees that had symptoms equivalent to human dementia were unable to make the connection at all, suggesting their short-term memory and ability to learn were both in sharp decline.

Here’s where it gets interesting. Bee hives have a fairly strict social structure – the older bees leave the hive to collect food, while the younger bees remain inside and care for larvae. Amdam flipped this by creating a hive where the older bees were again in charge of larvae. This simple alteration caused an instant surge in the older bees’ cognitive abilities, with half of the bees showing marked improvement in their learning and memory.

Even better, Amdam has been able to zero in on the physical alterations engendered by this social change. She discovered that eight different proteins associated with growth, repair, and maintenance of the brain cells had undergone massive with growth, with some reaching levels twice that of normal. Many of these proteins have direct human equivalents, which raises the distinct possibility that similar results could be produced in humans.

Of course this is all conjecture! As I said already, I don’t give a shit. Whether it be by altering social situations, heavy drugs, computer-aided neural interfaces, I want to keep some semblance of sharpness. I’m already slurring words and relentlessly crapping my pants. Something must be done.