Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Memories are harder to forget than currently thought

16.03.2004


While it might not seem so the next time you go searching for your car keys, scientists at the University of Pennsylvania have shown that memories are not as fluid as current research suggests. Their findings challenge the prevailing notion on how memories are stored and remembered – or that a recalled memory could be altered or lost as it is "re-remembered."



"Current theories of memory state that the act of remembering turns a stored memory into something malleable that then needs to be re-encoded," said K. Matthew Lattal, a postdoctoral researcher in Penn’s Department of Biology and a co-author of the study. "We show that the act of retrieving an old memory and then putting it back into storage is a different process than creating a memory in the first place. Unfortunately, it could mean that ’erasing’ traumatic memories is not as simple as one might hope."

The study will be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science and will be available on the Internet this week in the PNAS Online Early Edition.


Previous studies in rodents had shown that the process of encoding a memory could be blocked by the use of a protein synthesis inhibitor called anisomycin. Experiments with anisomycin helped lead to the acceptance of a theory in which a learned behavior is consolidated into a stored form and that then enters a ’labile’ – or adaptable – state when it is recalled. According to these previous studies, the act of putting a labile memory back into storage involves a reconsolidation process identical to the one used to store the memory initially. Indeed, experiments showed that anisomycin could make a mouse forget a memory if it were given anisomycin directly after remembering an event.

In the PNAS study, however, the Penn researchers showed that disruption of a "re-remembered" memory was not permanent.

"When we looked at mice 21 days after they were treated with anisomycin to block the reconsolidation of a memory, we showed that they could, in fact, remember the original learned behavior," Lattal said. "If you use the anisomycin, you can destroy a ’fresh’ memory, but the ’forgetting’ effect of anisomycin on an established memory is only temporary, at best."

According to the Penn researchers, the prominent theory of how memories are stored cannot account for the return of a supposedly forgotten memory. Accounting for the temporary loss of memories following the act of remembering will require further study.

"Whatever molecular mechanism occurs as a memory is being put back into storage, it allows the original memory to remain unaffected," said Ted Abel, an assistant professor in Penn’s Department of Biology and co-author of the study. "Ultimately, ’reconsolidation’ might not be an accurate portrayal of what is happening."

Memory-related illnesses, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, would undoubtedly benefit from a more accurate understanding of the molecular events behind memory storage.

"There is much we don’t know about the molecular events that occur as our brain processes memories – and much good that can come out of a deeper understanding of how memories work," Abel said.


The research was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Merck Foundation, the Packard Foundation, the University of Pennsylvania Research Foundation and the Whitehall Foundation.

Greg Lester | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.upenn.edu/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Designer cells: artificial enzyme can activate a gene switch
22.05.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Flow of cerebrospinal fluid regulates neural stem cell division
22.05.2018 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Designer cells: artificial enzyme can activate a gene switch

22.05.2018 | Life Sciences

PR of MCC: Carbon removal from atmosphere unavoidable for 1.5 degree target

22.05.2018 | Earth Sciences

Achema 2018: New camera system monitors distillation and helps save energy

22.05.2018 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>