Bad Dancer? Yikes! Could Be Your Brain’s Fault

A study, released today by researchers at the University of Oxford in England, claims a tiny messenger in the brain is partly to blame for those among us who struggle to grasp the latest dance moves. – This is all about GABA (short for gamma-aminobutyric acid). Again: not Gaga, GABA. A naturally occurring chemical, GABA is a bit like the brain’s traffic cop. Nerve cells in the brain are constantly firing and “talking” to each other. GABA helps keep all that chatter from getting out of control. – “Our research suggests that an important first step in learning that new skill is a decrease in GABA levels in the motor cortex,” explained Dr. Charlotte Stagg, a junior research fellow at Oxford and at John Radcliffe Hospital. Her study was published online in the journal Current Biology. – “It appears that GABA levels in some people are more easily modulated than in others, and that the differences between people (are) related to their ability to learn” new movements, Stagg said. (NBCnews.com as of 2011)