Monday, April 24, 2017

Scientists discover the 'beautiful' secret of how memories are made

Jim Carey

Intrigueing and possibly useful.  Since i also expect all sensury input is actually stored by the spirit body anyway, then the cortex connects to this data to provide a permanent record for cognitive use. 

Short term memory allows this information to be processed and to be decided upon.  Them the long tem memory is plausibly edited and even discarded.  Thus our need for sleep. 

This duality is an excellent way to actually process and develop memories using careful review and editing.. 

Scientists discover the 'beautiful' secret of how memories are made

Jim Carey in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind CREDIT: MOMENTUM PICTURES

Laura Donnelly, health editor 7 APRIL 2017 • 4:00PM

Scientists have discovered the secret of how memories are made - the brain makes two copies of every event, in a discovery they described as “beautiful”.

Researchers said even they were surprised when they realised the secret of how recollections are created and stored.

They found that the brain “doubles up" by simultaneously making two memories of events.

One is for the present and the second is for the long-term, they found.

It had been thought that all memories start as a short-term memory and are then slowly converted into a lifetime version.

Experts said the findings from MIT in the US and a team from Japan were “beautiful and convincing”.

Two parts of the brain are involved in collecting and storing personal experiences.

The hippocampus collects short-term memories while the cortex retains long-term memories.


Henry Molaison changed scientists' understanding of how memories work

Henry Molaison was no longer able to make new memories - ones from before the operation remained intact.

Scientists decided then that memories must be formed in the hippocampus and then moved to the cortex where they are "banked".

The new experiments, by the Riken-MIT Center for Neural Circuit Genetics, carried out on mice, have established a very different theory.

They involved watching the way memories were formed as brain cells responded to a shock.

Light was then beamed into the brain to control the activity of individual neurons, switching memories on and off.

The results, published in the journal Science, found that in fact, memories were formed simultaneously in the hippocampus and the cortex.

Researchers said the cortex’s long-term memory did not seem to be used in the first few days after memories were formed, when it was “immature or silent”.

When scientists turned off the short-term memory, the shock event was forgotten.

Yet the mice could be made to remember by manually switching the long-term memory on.

Prof Susumu Tonegawa, the director of the research centre, said: “This is contrary to the popular hypothesis that has been held for decades.

"This is a significant advance compared to previous knowledge, it's a big shift."

He said the discovery was “surprising”.

The study also found the long-term memory never matured if the connection between the hippocampus and the cortex was blocked - suggesting that over time, the balance of power shifts to the cortex.

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