A recent study conducted at the University of Florida identifies a set of proteins that undergo experience-dependent changes while forming both short-term and long-term memories.
New longer-term memory is like a construction site inside the brain. Neurons restructure themselves to build or demolish connections with other neurons to store the memory for retrieval when needed.
Researchers at UF have discovered that these cellular building materials — in this case, sets of proteins — undergo experience-dependent changes while forming short- and long-term memories. The study offers a glimpse into the brain’s plasticity, or its ability to adapt and change its structure as we live our lives and accumulate memories.
How Long-Term Memories are Formed
Brain science is an extremely complex field of research and practice. Studies on how memories work can be a lot of work to comprehend. Here is a simplified version of the process through which long-term memories are formed.
Long-term memories are formed through a process called consolidation, which involves the transfer of information from short-term memory to long-term memory storage.
The first step in forming a long-term memory is encoding, which involves the initial processing of information. This can include attention, perception, and interpretation of sensory information.
After the information has been encoded, it is transferred to long-term memory storage through a process called consolidation. This involves the strengthening of neural connections in the brain that represent memory. Consolidation can occur through a process called synaptic plasticity, in which repeated neural activity leads to changes in the strength of the connections between neurons.
Once a memory has been consolidated, it can be retrieved later when needed. This involves the reactivation of the neural pathways that were established during the consolidation process.
Factors that can influence long-term memory formation include the emotional significance of the information, repetition, and rehearsal of the information, and the association of the information with prior knowledge or experiences.
It’s important to note that the process of long-term memory formation is complex and not fully understood, and there are likely many other factors that contribute to the formation and retrieval of memories. The research conducted by the UF team is important because it gave more insight into the adaptability of the brain.
Additionally, the study helps future researchers understand more about how the brain’s enormously complex systems operate. That has potential implications, scientists said, for a better understanding of neurological disorders. Those include Alzheimer’s and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis(ALS).
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Original article posted by Neuroscience NewsTags: brain health, brain mapping, clinical research, mental health