Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Lost memories can be restored at synapses, study reveals

Lost memories can be restored, a
study indicates. (File photo)
Press TV | Dec 23, 2014

A new study shows that by regenerating the nervous system in the brain, long-term memory can be retrieved and restored.

A research on a small marine snail called, Aplysia, proved that lost memories could potentially be retrieved at synapses.

The team studied the particular neurons in the snail’s brain to explain the learning and memory system in the animal, according to the research report which appeared in eLife.

They observed the snail’s defensive response when it tried to protect its gill from potential harm.

The study mainly focused on the animal’s withdrawal reflex and the sensory and motor neurons that produce it.

The researchers enhanced the snail's withdrawal reflex by giving it several mild electrical shocks on its tail.

The shock caused the hormone serotonin to be released in the snail's central nervous system.

The snail's long-term memory was revealed when the imposed enhancement lasted for days after a series of electrical shocks.

“Long-term memory is a function of the growth of new synaptic connections caused by the serotonin,” a senior author of the study, David Glanzman, clarified, adding, “The nervous system appears to be able to regenerate lost synaptic connections. If you can restore the synaptic connections, the memory will come back. It won't be easy, but I believe it's possible."

Scientists believe that the new achievement can make great strides in Alzheimer's treatment for the patients who are in the early stages of the disease.

In Alzheimer's disease, the synapses, the connections between brain cells, are broken down.

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