A study of mice shows that the simultaneous action of a group of neurons allows some memories to stay in the lead for a very long time.
The memory is sometimes surprising: some very old things remain anchored in our head while recent facts fall into oblivion. At the California Institute of Technology, a research team used mice to understand the secrets of our memory. She discovered that the simultaneous action of neuronal groups causes a redundancy that allows certain memories to remain.
Why can we have vivid childhood memories?- Caltech (@Caltech) August 23, 2019
Caltech researchers fine that neurons can encode long-term memories in a similar way oral storytellers pass along tales over generations. //t.co/jsD3CTjUHO
Test memory on mice
The mice were tested to assess their ability to remember a new place. They were placed in an enclosure where markers were previously placed on the walls, and sweet water was arranged as a reward. While exploring the area, the researchers analyzed the activity of their hippocampus, the part of the brain where memories are created. They found that as rodents became more familiar with the place, more neurons were activated simultaneously with the approach of symbols.
Neurons that help each other
For 20 days, the mice did not have access to the pen to test the evolution of their memory over time. Previously active neuron groups reactivated, allowing the animals to quickly recall the location. Some neurons active in the first trial were no longer, but the fact that the neural activity is concentrated in a group allows the brain to remember anyway. "Imagine that you have a long and complicated story to tell," says study director Walter Gonzalez, "To preserve the story, you could tell it to five of your friends and you're all together from time to time for say again and allow everyone to remember pieces they had forgotten, but at the same time, each time you tell the story again, you could invite new friends to learn it and like that to preserve and reinforce the memory By analogy, your neurons help each other to encode memories that will remain in time. "
A new therapeutic track for Alzheimer's?
According to the researchers, if aging memory shows more weakness, it is probably because there are fewer and fewer neurons to encode memories, and therefore more likely than if one of the neurons fails , the memory does not stay. Researchers hope to use these findings to develop new treatments for Alzheimer's.