Scientists erase and restore rat memory

Sunday, June 1, 2014 (HealthDay News)-Using light to stimulate important neural connections in the rat’s brain, scientists erase certain memories and restore them with a second type of light I was able to.

“We are free to reactivate it by forming it, erasing it, and applying stimuli that selectively strengthen or weaken synaptic connections,” said the University of California, San Diego. Diego, a senior researcher at the University of California, said in a university press release.

Report in the June 1 issue of Nature, Malinou and his colleagues said that they removed and reactivated rat memory by stimulating synapses, which are connections between brain nerve cells (neurons).

To that end, scientists used photooptics to stimulate a bundle of nerves in the rat’s brain that was genetically tuned to be light-sensitive.At the same time, they delivered electricity shock For rodent feet.In this way, the rat stimulates nerves Foot pain The researchers said they showed horrifying behavior as if they had memories of what happened together, and when the nerves were stimulated.

The stimulated neural regions showed chemical changes indicating that memory-linked synapses between brain cells became stronger after stimulation.

But scientists could also weaken those memory cell connections. They did so by sending a set of low-frequency light pulses to the same nerve. In this case, the rodents stopped responding to the original nerve stimulus. pain-The associative memory has been erased.

But what about recovering that lost memory? Marinow’s team could also do that by restimulating the nerve fascicles with another high-frequency light pulse.In these cases, the rats are even their leg I wasn’t shocked. According to scientists, it suggests that they have “recovered” fear-related memories.

“By stimulating nerves at frequencies that strengthen or weaken synapses, animals are scared, then scared, and then next Can be scared again. ” news release.

Animal testing often cannot be translated into human applications, but researchers believe that future research may benefit.

One such application is Alzheimer’s disease patient.Beta amyloid plaque that accumulates in people’s brains Alzheimer’s disease Malinou explained that low-frequency stimulation weakens synaptic connections in much the same way that it erases rat memory.

“Our research shows that we can reverse the process of weakening synapses, so we can potentially counteract some of the effects of beta-amyloid. Alzheimer’s disease “Patient,” he theorized.

-EJ Mandel

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Source: University of California, San Diego, News Release, June 1, 2014

Scientists erase and restore rat memory

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