Imagine you hear the halt of tires and then the sound of breaking glass. How will react your brain next time you face a similar situation? What are the tricks that our brains use to archive in memory that these two events are related to a traffic accident?
The so-called episodic memory is related to the memory of certain events, which need not be associated with traumatic events. Save these events in our brain involves activation of an important part of this, known as the hippocampus .
Research by scientists at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory of MIT has managed to determine which neurons are involved in the construction of episodic memory in our brain. Its publication in the journal Science gives a little more light on our understanding of memory.
Got off and on certain neurons to see which regulate memory
Scientists have used a new technique, known as optogenetics , so “on” and “off” groups of neurons. By using this methodology, which could visualize nerve cells were directly involved in memory formation. Their study in mice, therefore, episodic memory has been linked to the activity of two specific neuronal circuits.
These groups of neurons are important because they work following a fine balance, and thus ensure that our brain’s response to certain situations is optimal. In other words, having two neural circuits helps that we not be paralyzed by a terrifying situation, nor do we stay quiet to events where we should be active.
Episodic memory is constructed through events, stored in our brain through three parameters: what happened, when and where it happened that fact. Memories are therefore closely related to a certaintiming , essential to know how a situation happened. So far, scientists knew that the storage of these memories needed a minimum of 20 seconds.
The MIT study, however, has ensured that the mice could file in your various memory made ??with a fairly long period. For example, if the animals subjected to a small shock associated with a particular sound, rodents panic felt to hear that noise. If they could “turn off” one of the two neural circuits , animals do not feel anything when he heard the sound again.
In a way, knowing how episodic memory and working memory storage, could serve in medicine .Certain events that occur in our life can be really traumatic. The question is: would it be immoral delete certain events for a quieter life?
Delete memories could be used in future medicine
The on and off of the two neural circuits has demonstrated that it may be possible (although now only been achieved in mice).Other investigations to erase memories using techniques such as sleep therapy and inhibition or activation of certain chemicals.
Certainly, advances in the field of neuroscience are amazing. A greater understanding of the brain could also clarify, for example, how they form and erase all memory types, as in some terrible diseases.Perhaps this MIT study is only the first step in understanding what happens to our memories in patients affected by Alzheimer’s disease.