Charles Choi, LiveScience ContributorDate: 24 March 2013 Time: 07:16 PM ET

http://www.livescience.com

Researchers have found that normal brain activity, particularly exploring new places, leads to breaks in double-stranded molecules of DNA. CREDIT: ktsdesign | ShutterstockView full size image

3d illustration of brain cells

Brain activity from experiences as common as exploring new locations surprisingly damages the noggin’s DNA, hinting that such disruptions may be a key part of thinking, learning and memory, researchers say.

This damage normally heals rapidly, but abnormal proteins seen in Alzheimer’s diseasecan increase this damage further, perhaps overwhelming the ability of brain cells to heal it. Further research into preventing this damage might help treat brain disorders, scientists added.

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