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Scientists Unveil The 'face' Of Newly Encoded Memory

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Scientists unveil the 'face' of newly encoded memory


Washington, July 25 : Researchers at the University of California, Irvine have made a breakthrough in the fulfilment of a century-old dream of neuroscientists to visualize a memory by capturing, for the first time, images of the changes in brain cell connections following a common form of learning.


The researchers used newly developing microscopic techniques called restorative deconvolution microscopy in their groundbreaking research, reported in the Journal of Neuroscience.


They have found that synaptic connections in a region of rats' brains critical to learning change shape when the rodents learn to navigate a new, complex environment.


They say that the rats stopped learning upon the use of drugs to block those changes in the course of research, an indication that the shape change plays a significant role in the production of stable memory.


'This is the first time anyone has seen the physical substrate, the 'face,' of newly encoded memory. We have cleared a hurdle that once seemed insurmountable,' said Gary Lynch, Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behaviour at the university UC Irvine and leader of one of the two research teams involved in the studies.


The research has shown that markers related to long-term potentiation (LTP), a physiological effect closely related to memory storage, appear during learning and are associated with expanded synapses in the hippocampus.


Since the size of a synapse relates to its effectiveness in transmitting messages between neurons, the new results indicate that learning improves communication between particular groups of brain cells.


The new findings have raised hopes for mapping the distribution of memory across brain regions, which is one of the greatest objectives of the life sciences.


UC Irvine researchers are now planning to set up a consortium of laboratories directed at producing the first maps of memory.





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This is cool stuff !!


Something to grab on to is made available by science. This has huge long term implications !


Backing up your brain before surgery :eek: ... wow !


Yeah, that would be cool! It'd have other implications, too. Amnesia? No problem! Here are your memories, sir!

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