Navigation Links
Scientists Turn Memory On, Off in Rats With Flip of Switch
Date:6/18/2011

By Maureen Salamon
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, June 17 (HealthDay News) -- Fixing faulty memories may one day be as easy as flipping a switch, according to scientists who restored brain function in rats even when they had been drugged to forget.

Building on prior research on the brain area known as the hippocampus, which is associated with learning, researchers from University of Southern California and Wake Forest University used an electronic system to duplicate neural signals linked to memory and turn the rats' memories on and off at will.

"This actually looks like a real step . . . toward some future device that may be very real," said Dr. Nicholas Schiff, an associate professor of neurology and neuroscience at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City. "It's obviously early, but it looks that, in proof of concept, something like this could partially restore function in a hippocampus not completely damaged." Schiff was not involved in the study.

The study is published June 17 in the Journal of Neural Engineering.

In the experiment, 45 rats first learned a task by pressing one lever instead of another to receive a reward. The researchers used embedded electrical probes in the rats' brains to record changes in brain activity between the two major regions of the hippocampus, which converts short-term memory to long-term during the learning process.

When the researchers used drugs to block normal neural interactions between the two regions, the previously trained rats could no longer display the long-term learned behavior. However, the long-term memory returned when the team activated the electronic device, which was programmed to duplicate the memory-encoding function of the hippocampus' two major regions.

"Flip the switch on, and the rats remember. Flip it off, and the rats forget," lead author Theodore Berger, a professor of biomedical engineering at USC's Viterbi School of Engineering, said in a university news release. "The rats still showed that they knew 'when you press left first, then press right next time' . . . and they still knew in general to press levers for water, but they could only remember whether they had pressed left or right for five to 10 seconds."

In the experiment, the "neural prosthesis" devised by the scientists replaced circuitry in the brain that no longer functions properly. That could eventually have implications for helping people afflicted with Alzheimer's disease, stroke or other brain injuries to recover lost function, the researchers explained.

"Obviously, memory disorders are a hallmark of a number of different disorders of the nervous system, including Alzheimer's, epilepsy and traumatic brain injury," said another expert, Dr. Ashesh Mehta, director of epilepsy surgery at North Shore-LIJ Comprehensive Epilepsy Care Institute in New Hyde Park, N.Y.

"So there's lots to be said if we could figure out the mechanism by which memory occurs," Mehta added. And even though this study was done in animals, "the basic architecture of the hippocampus is preserved in humans," he said.

The researchers next hope to duplicate the findings in monkeys.

Schiff said he thought such a device would potentially work better in patients whose loss of oxygen -- from conditions such as cardiac arrest -- had left them with brain injuries that would not progress, unlike Alzheimer's.

"Alzheimer's disease has its own underlying biology," he said. "It knocks out cells in lots and lots of places in an inexorable way. But there are brain injuries where cells are closer to the experimental design here."

More information

Bryn Mawr College has more information about the hippocampus.

SOURCES: Nicholas Schiff, M.D., associate professor, neurology and neuroscience, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York City; Ashesh Mehta, M.D., Ph.D., director, epilepsy surgery, North Shore-LIJ Comprehensive Epilepsy Care Institute, New Hyde Park, N.Y.; June 17, 2011, Journal of Neural Engineering


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Scientists Pinpoint Area of Brain That Fears Losing Money
2. Scientists Discover How HIV Is Transmitted Between Men
3. Prevention Is Key Research Goal for Premature Babies, Scientists Say
4. Scientists Discover Molecular Pathway for Organ Tissue Regeneration and Repair
5. Scientists find donut-shaped structure of enzyme involved in energy metabolism
6. Neuroscientists reveal new links that regulate brain electrical activity
7. Two UCSF Scientists to Receive Prestigious Dementia Research Honor
8. Johns Hopkins scientists develop personalized blood tests for cancer using whole genome sequencing
9. Scientists Spot Genetic Fingerprints of Individual Cancers
10. Scientists Unravel Mysteries of Intelligence
11. MSU scientists develop more effective method of predicting lead-poisoning risk
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Scientists Turn Memory On, Off in Rats With Flip of Switch
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Austin residents seeking Mohs surgery services, ... Mohs Surgery and to Dr. Russell Peckham for medical and surgical dermatology. , Dr. ... skin cancer. The selective fellowship in Mohs Micrographic Surgery completed by Dr. Dorsey was ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Dr. ... from injury. Recently, he has implemented orthobiologic procedures as a method for treating ... one of the first doctors to perform the treatment. Orthobiologics are substances that ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Michigan (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... June ... about the dangers associated with chronic pain and the benefits of holistic treatments, ... individuals who are suffering with Sickle Cell Disease. , Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 24, 2016 , ... Comfort Keepers® of San Diego, CA is excited to ... Recovery® program to drive cancer patients to and from their cancer treatments. Comfort ... quality of life and ongoing independence. Getting to and from medical treatments is ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Las Vegas, Nevada (PRWEB) , ... June 24, ... ... their Las Vegas client, The Grove Investment Group (TGIG), has initiated cultivation and ... The Grove, in Las Vegas and Pahrump, Nevada. , Puradigm is the manufacturer ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 ... appointment of Dr. Edward Futcher to ... Director, effective June 23, 2016.Dr. Futcher was also ... and Governance Committees.  As a non-executive member of ... expertise and strategic counsel to VolitionRx in connection ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 Any dentist who has made ... the current process. Many of them do not even offer ... difficulties and high laboratory costs involved. And those who ARE ... at such a high cost that the majority of today,s ... Dr. Parsa Zadeh , founder of Dental Evolutions Inc. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 Research and Markets has ... Market Analysis 2016 - Forecast to 2022" report to ... report contains up to date financial data derived from varied ... major trends with potential impact on the market during the ... segmentation which comprises of sub markets, regional and country level ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: