Emotion and scent create lasting memories – even in a sleeping brain

When French memoirist Marcel Proust dipped a pastry into his tea, the distinctive scent it produced suddenly opened the flood gates of his memory.

In a series of experiments with sleeping mice, researchers at the Duke University Medical Center have shown that the part of the brain that processes scents is indeed a key part of forming long-term memories, especially involving other individuals. Continue reading “Emotion and scent create lasting memories – even in a sleeping brain”

Researchers find memory capacity much bigger than previously thought

Subjects in memory tests given at MIT’s Computational Vision Cognition Laboratory were asked to recall which of a pair of objects they had seen earlier that day. Subjects were shown 3,000 images, one at a time, over a five-hour period.

Image courtesy / Computational Vision Cognition Laboratory, MIT
Image courtesy / Computational Vision Cognition Laboratory, MIT

Continue reading “Researchers find memory capacity much bigger than previously thought”

How memories are made, and recalled

What makes a memory? Single cells in the brain, for one thing. For the first time, scientists at UCLA and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel have recorded individual brain cells in the act of calling up a memory, thus revealing where in the brain a specific memory is stored, and how it is able to recreate it.

Reporting in the current edition of the journal Science, Dr. Itzhak Fried, senior author and a UCLA professor of neurosurgery, and colleagues, recorded the activity of hundreds of individual neurons making memories from the brains of 13 epilepsy patients being treated at the UCLA Medical Center. The patients’ surgeons had placed electrodes into their brains to locate the origin of their seizures before surgical treatment (standard procedure in such cases). Continue reading “How memories are made, and recalled”

Major Step Forward In Understanding How Memory Works

Our ability to remember the objects, places and people within our environment is essential for everyday life, although the importance of this is only fully appreciated when recognition memory beings to fail, as in Alzheimer’s disease.

By blocking certain mechanisms that control the way that nerve cells in the brain communicate, scientists from the University of Bristol have been able to prevent visual recognition memory in rats.

A single neuron (centre) in the perirhinal cortex which is involved in memory processes. (Credit: Photo by Andy Doherty) Continue reading “Major Step Forward In Understanding How Memory Works”