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Scientists Erase Specific Memories in Mice

Discussion in 'Tech, Gadgets & Science Forum' started by MaxShimba, Oct 23, 2008.

  1. MaxShimba

    MaxShimba JF-Expert Member

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    Scientists Erase Specific Memories in Mice

    By Alan Mozes
    HealthDay Reporter by Alan Mozes
    healthday Reporter – Wed Oct 22, 7:03 pm ET.WEDNESDAY, Oct. 22 (HealthDay News) --

    It sounds like science fiction, by scientists say it might one day be possible to erase undesirable memories from the brain, selectively and safely.

    Using a complex genetic approach, U.S. and Chinese researchers believe they have done just that in mice, but the feat is far from being tested on humans.

    Study co-author Joe Z. Tsien, co-director of the Brain & Behavior Discovery Institute at the Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, says the "work reveals a molecular mechanism of how [memory deletion] can be done quickly and without doing damage to brain cells."

    The finding is published in the Oct. 23 issue of Neuron.

    Humans plagued by painful memories have long wished for a way to eject them from the brain. The concept was the premise of the popular 2004 film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, in which two former lovers pay a "memory-erasure" service to expunge the unhappy affair from their minds.

    To explore the possibility of safely carving away bits of memory, the study authors first focused on the activity of a common protein found only in the brain, called CaMKII

     
  2. MaxShimba

    MaxShimba JF-Expert Member

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    In the course of a day, there are many times when you need to keep some piece of information in your head for just a few seconds. Maybe it is a number that you are "carrying over" to do a subtraction, or a persuasive argument that you are going to make as soon as the other person finishes talking. Either way, you are using your short-term memory.
    In fact, those are two very good examples of why you usually hold information in your short-term memory: to accomplish something that you have planned to do. Perhaps the most extreme example of short-term memory is a chess master who can explore several possible solutions mentally before choosing the one that will lead to checkmate.

    This ability to hold on to a piece of information temporarily in order to complete a task is specifically human. It causes certain regions of the brain to become very active, in particular the pre-frontal lobe.


    You may read more at THE BRAIN FROM TOP TO BOTTOM



     
  3. MaxShimba

    MaxShimba JF-Expert Member

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    Memory and learning are so closely connected that people often confuse them with each other. But the specialists who study them consider them two distinct phenomena.

    These specialists define learning as a process that will modify a subsequent behaviour. Memory, on the other hand, is the ability to remember past experiences.

    You learn a new language by studying it, but you then speak it by using your memory to retrieve the words that you have learned.

    Memory is essential to all learning, because it lets you store and retrieve the information that you learn. Memory is basically nothing more than the record left by a learning process.

    Thus, memory depends on learning. But learning also depends on memory, because the knowledge stored in your memory provides the framework to which you link new knowledge, by association. And the more extensive your framework of existing knowledge, the more easily you can link new knowledge to it.



     
  4. Mbu

    Mbu JF-Expert Member

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    'Milk of amnesia' can safely do that to humans.
     
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