facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Front part of the brain can hold memories

Jan. 27, 2009 at 3:48 PM   |   Comments

DALLAS, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- U.S. scientists say they've discovered individual nerve cells in the front part of the brain can hold memories for about one minute.

Researchers from UT Southwestern Medical Center said their study of mice is the "first to identify the specific signal that establishes non-permanent cellular memory and reveals how the brain holds temporary information."

Assistant Professor Don Cooper, senior author, said the research has implications for addiction, attention disorders and stress-related memory loss.

"Researchers have known permanent memories are stored when the excitatory amino acid glutamate activates ion channels on nerve cells in the brain to reorganize and strengthen the cells' connections with one another," the scientists said, noting that the process takes too long to buffer, or temporarily hold, rapidly incoming information.

The researchers found rapid-fire inputs less than a second long initiate a cellular memory process in single cells lasting as long as a minute -- a process called metabotropic glutamate transmission.

"It's more like (random access memory) on a computer than memory stored on a disk," Cooper said. "The memory on the disk is more permanent and you can go back and access the same information repeatedly. RAM memory is rewritable temporary storage that allows multitasking."

The research appears in the February issue of the journal Nature Neuroscience.

© 2009 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
Massive sunspot sending violent flares toward Earth Massive sunspot sending violent flares toward Earth
2
Google exec breaks skydive record with dive from near-space Google exec breaks skydive record with dive from near-space
3
Powerful new microscope sees cell division in real time Powerful new microscope sees cell division in real time
4
Stone tools reveal Ice Age settlement in the Andes Stone tools reveal Ice Age settlement in the Andes
5
Coal-rich Poland wants concessions in EU climate deal Coal-rich Poland wants concessions in EU climate deal
Trending News
Around the Web
x
Feedback