Navigation Links
Sea snails help scientists explore a possible way to enhance memory
Date:12/27/2011

Efforts to help people with learning impairments are being aided by a species of sea snail known as Aplysia californica. The mollusk, which is used by researchers to study the brain, has much in common with other species including humans. Research involving the snail has contributed to the understanding of learning and memory.

At The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), neuroscientists used this animal model to test an innovative learning strategy designed to help improve the brain's memory and the results were encouraging. It could ultimately benefit people who have impairments resulting from aging, stroke, traumatic brain injury or congenital cognitive impairments.

The proof-of-principle study was published on the Nature Neuroscience website on Dec. 25. The next steps in the research may involve tests in other animal models and eventually humans.

The strategy was used to identify times when the brain was primed for learning, which in turn facilitated the scheduling of learning sessions during these peak periods. The result was a significant increase in memory.

"We found that memory could be enhanced appreciably," said John H. "Jack" Byrne, Ph.D., senior author and chair of the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy at the UTHealth Medical School.

Building on earlier research that identified proteins linked to memory, the investigators created a mathematical model that tells researchers when the timing of the activity of these proteins is aligned for the best learning experience.

Right now, the scheduling of learning sessions is based on trial and error and is somewhat arbitrary. If the model proves effective in follow-up studies, it could be used to identify those periods when learning potential is highest.

"When you give a training session, you are starting several different chemical reactions. If you give another session, you get additional effects. The idea is to get the sessions in sync," Byrne said. "We have developed a way to adjust the training sessions so they are tuned to the dynamics of the biochemical processes."

Two groups of snails received five learning sessions. One group received learning sessions at irregular intervals as predicted by a mathematical model. Another group received training sessions in regular 20-minute intervals.

Five days after the learning sessions were completed, a significant increase in memory was detected in the group that was trained with a schedule predicted by a computer. But, no increase was detected in the group with the regular 20-minute intervals.

The computer sorted through 10,000 different permutations in order to determine a schedule that would enhance memory.

To confirm their findings, researchers analyzed nerve cells in the brain of snails and found greater activity in the ones receiving the enhanced training schedule, said Byrne, the June and Virgil Waggoner Chair of Neurobiology and Anatomy at UTHealth.

"This study shows the feasibility of using computational methods to assist in the design of training schedules that enhance memory," Byrne said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Robert Cahill
Robert.Cahill@uth.tmc.edu
713-500-3030
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. In bubble-rafting snails, the eggs came first
2. Research into molluscan phylogeny reveals deep animal relationship of snails and mussels
3. Hitchhiking snails fly from ocean to ocean
4. Marine snails get a metabolism boost
5. A study reveals the keys to the locomotion of snails
6. Warrior worms discovered in snails; UCSB scientists see possible biomedical applications
7. Female marine snails trick amorous males
8. Scared snails opt for single parenthood rather than wait for a mate
9. Presence of snails points to forest recovery
10. Snails and humans use same genes to tell right from left
11. Ripple effect: Water snails offer new propulsion possibilities
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Sea snails help scientists explore a possible way to enhance memory
(Date:6/15/2016)... 15, 2016 Transparency Market ... Recognition Market by Application Market - Global Industry Analysis Size ... to the report, the  global gesture recognition market ... and is estimated to grow at a CAGR ... 2024.  Increasing application of gesture recognition ...
(Date:6/7/2016)... 7, 2016  Syngrafii Inc. and San Antonio ... that includes integrating Syngrafii,s patented LongPen™ eSignature "Wet" ... collaboration will result in greater convenience for SACU ... while maintaining existing document workflow and compliance requirements. ... Highlights: ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... 2, 2016   The Weather Company , an IBM ... an industry-first capability in which consumers will be able to ... ask questions via voice or text and receive relevant information ... Marketers have long sought an advertising solution that ... be personal, relevant and valuable; and can scale across millions ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2016)... Nov. 30, 2016  GenomOncology today announced the appointment of ... Medical Affairs.  Dr. Coleman will oversee clinical ... proprietary knowledge-enabled platform. The GenomOncology software suite empowers molecular pathologists ... data and clinical decision support, from quality control through reporting. ... , , ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... VANCOUVER , Nov. 30, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -  Equicare ... coordination solutions, has been recognized as one of the ... 100, an annual international listing that distinguishes the top ... "We,ve pushed a great step forward this year continually ... growing our own customer base and team," says ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... 30, 2016   Merck , a leading science ... into a set of agreements with Evotec AG, whereby ... of genetic reagents such as CRISPR and shRNA libraries. ... offers an accelerated pathway to explore and identify new ... identification of new targets, a process that can be ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... ... 2016 , ... With growth rates averaging more than 30% each year, Random42 ... to continuing their expansion in their new office space. The new office has a ... by the creative industries, so Random42 Scientific Communication will fit right in. , ...
Breaking Biology Technology: