Once upon a time, the human memory was considered the unique diary that we carry with us until we depart from this world. Now, a team of researchers led by Don Arnold and Richard Roberts at the University of California managed to observe the way this diary is written by our brain. In order to perform the experiment, scientists used microscopic probes that “lighted” the neuron synapses by attaching fluorescent markers in synaptic proteins, without affecting the normal function of the neurons to function. Fluorescent markers allowed the team of researchers to observe how synapses are excited or inhibited and, for the first time, they have observed the way memories are formed in the brain.
Thanks to these microscopic probes, the synapses appeared on the scanners as bright spots along dendrites, the neuron branches that transmit electrochemical signals. As the brain was processing new information, these bright spots have changed, indicating how the brain synaptic structure has been modified by new data. According to their findings, when we learn something new or when we form a new memory, there is a physical change in the human brain, suggesting that it is “writing” the new memory. According to the conducted experiment, the things that change are the synaptic connections. KNZ245V2VQ9U
According to Arnold and Roberts, the probes used to conduct this experiment have the same properties of antibodies, but binds more tightly, and they are optimized to operate within cells – a property not held by the antibodies. The two scientists collaborated with Nobel Laureate, Jack Szostak, and they have used a technique called “mRNA”, created by Robert and Szostak.
This new medical and scientific finding provides a critical understanding on how our brain store memory, a result that can be used in the treatment of brain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease. The study is a component of the campaign announced by President Obama in April, a campaign that will revolutionize education and understanding the human brain function.
image and article source: Neuron