Navigation Links
New research shows why too much memory may be a bad thing

New research from Columbia University Medical Center may explain why people who are able to easily and accurately recall historical dates or long-ago events, may have a harder time with word recall or remembering the day’s current events. They may have too much memory ?making it harder to filter out information and increasing the time it takes for new short-term memories to be processed and stored.

Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (March 13, 2007 issue), the research reinforces the old adage that too much of anything ?even something good for you ?can actually be detrimental. In this case, the good thing is the growth of new neurons, a process called neurogenesis, in the hippocampus, the region of the brain responsible for learning and memory.

Results of the study, conducted with mice, found that the absence of neurogenesis in the hippocampus improves working memory, a specific form of short-term memory that relates to the ability to store task-specific information for a limited timeframe, e.g., where your car is parked in a huge mall lot or remembering a phone number for few seconds before writing it down. Because working memory is highly sensitive to interference from information previously stored in memory, forgetting such information may therefore be necessary for performing everyday working memory tasks, such as balancing your check book or decision making.

"We were surprised to find that halting neurogenesis caused an improvement of working memory, which suggests that too much memory is not always a good thing, and that forgetting is important for normal cognition and behavior," said Gaël Malleret, Ph.D., a research scientist at the Center for Neurobiology and Behavior at Columbia University Medical Center and the paper’s co-first author. "Altogether, our findings suggest that new neurons in the hippocampus have different, and in some cases, opposite roles in distinct types of memory storage, and that e xcess neurogenesis can be detrimental to some memory processes."

"We believe these findings have important implications for diverse disciplines ranging from medicine to artificial intelligence," said Dr. Malleret. "In medicine, these findings have significant implications for possible therapeutic interventions to improve memory ?a careful balance of neurogenesis would need to be struck to improve memory without overwhelming it with too much activity."

Many scientists had believed that neurogenesis in the hippocampus, and specifically, the dentate gyrus region, was wholly beneficial to memory. Previous research by Dr. Malleret with co-first author Michael D. Saxe, Ph.D., who was at Columbia when the research took place and is now at the Salk Institute in San Diego, Calif., found that reducing neurogenesis causes long-term memory deficits.

Based on this research, Drs. Malleret and Saxe hypothesized that the growth of too many new neurons could actually be more harmful than helpful to working memory. To examine this hypothesis, they designed working memory tests for two independent groups of mice in which neurogenesis in the hippocampus regions was suppressed. Results of the tests, in which mice had to locate food within specific areas of a maze, showed that mice in which neurogenesis had been halted made more correct choices and found the food faster.

"In our world, we are constantly bombarded by new information so we are constantly filtering –and if we did not do this, we would be overwhelmed," said Dr. Malleret. "Our research indicates that those with better working memory may have fewer new neurons being developed in their hippocampus, which helps them forget old and useless information sooner and enable them to take in new information faster."
'"/>

Source:Columbia University Medical Center


Related biology news :

1. Columbia research lifts major hurdle to gene therapy for cancer
2. U of M researcher examines newly emerging deadly disease
3. NYU researchers simulate molecular biological clock
4. First atlas of key brain genes could speed research on cancer, neurological diseases
5. New research questions basic tenet of neuron function
6. Vital step in cellular migration described by UCSD medical researchers
7. ASU researchers finds novel chemistry at work to provide parrots vibrant red colors
8. UCSD researchers maintain stem cells without contaminated animal feeder layers
9. Why do insects stop breathing? To avoid damage from too much oxygen, say researchers
10. New protein discovered by Hebrew University researchers
11. First real-time view of developing neurons reveals surprises, say Stanford researchers

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:4/28/2016)... First quarter 2016:   , ... the first quarter of 2015 The gross margin was ... 18.8) and the operating margin was 40% (-13) Earnings ... flow from operations was SEK 249.9 M (21.2) , ... SEK 7,000-8,500 M. The operating margin for 2016 is ...
(Date:4/19/2016)... 2016 The new GEZE SecuLogic ... web-based "all-in-one" system solution for all door components. It ... the door interface with integration authorization management system, and ... The minimal dimensions of the access control and the ... installations offer considerable freedom of design with regard to ...
(Date:4/14/2016)... BioCatch ™, the global ... the appointment of Eyal Goldwerger as CEO. ... Goldwerger,s leadership appointment comes at a time of significant ... of its platform at several of the world,s largest ... unique cognitive and physiological factors, is a winner of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/22/2016)... ... June 22, 2016 , ... Quantitative ... business incubator and current participant in the Phase 1 Ventures program, is leveraging ... , Quantitative Radiology Solutions helps physicians make better treatment decisions by quantifying ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 21, 2016 , ... New light-based ... cutting into the tissue — promise to enable both compact, wearable devices for point-of-care ... even deeper under the skin. , Recent work and visionary future directions are detailed ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... SAN DIEGO , June 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... that has developed a testing platform designed specifically ... the formation of their scientific advisory board (SAB). ... of directors, the SAB is chartered to advise ... infectious disease assay platform. Led by Dr. ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... June 22, 2016 On Tuesday, June ... 4,843.76, up 0.14%; the Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 0.14% ... 2,088.90, up 0.27%. The gains were broad based as five ... has initiated coverage on the following equities: Minerva Neurosciences Inc. ... PTLA ), Trevena Inc. (NASDAQ: TRVN ), ...
Breaking Biology Technology: