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Scientists improve working memory by expanding brain signals

A study led by researchers at the School of Medicine at the University of New York found that short-term memory could be improved by artificially extending neuronal signals called sharp waves. The discovery may lead to new treatments for memory disorders, including Alzheimer's disease.

The researchers focused on short-term memory

Sebastian Kaulitzki | Shutterstock

The study focused on working memory, which is responsible for retaining temporary information that needs to be used to perform a task, for example, remembering the directions and directions for a new site to be used later in the day, or calling the numbers to write a phone number.

The team found that with the continuation of sharp waves (oscillatory models local to the hippocampus and surrounding areas of the brain involved in memory consolidation) in rats, they were 10 to 15 percent better remembered on the way through the maze to find sugar water treat.

Sharp waves are created when nerve cells send electrical impulses to organize memories. As the study explains, "hurricanes of harsh dams (SPW-Rs) in the hippocampus are considered a key mechanism for memory consolidation and planning of activities."

During the experiment, the route of researchers for labyrinths invented for rats had changed so that rats had to use the opposite direction of the path they previously had to receive the prize. To accomplish this, rats had to use their short-term memory to avoid recurring the same route to find the sugar water.

The researchers used multidisciplinary electrophysiological shots with optimum activation of the pyramidal neurons of the hippocampus and artificialally extended the waves of sharp dams to evaluate how it affects the short-term memory performance of the rats.

To expand the waves of the sharp wave, the hippocampal cells were designed to include channels sensitive to light. With a shiny light through the small glass fibers they successfully activated the neurons and added more neurons to the sequence that occurs naturally.

It was found that not only the expansion of hurricane shocks improves the performance of short-term memory, the waves also used less common firing neurons in their sequences. The research team had previously discovered that slow-neuronal neurons more easily change properties than the rapid release of neurons when new information is learned.

Dr Gorgi Buzsaki, Doctor of Science, Bigs Professor at the Department of Neuroscience and Physiology at the School of Medicine at the University of New York, spoke about the significance of the new study that was published in Science on the 14thyou from June 2019.

Our study is the first in our field to make artificial changes to internal neuronal discharges in the brain region called the hippocampus that has increased the ability to learn, rather than interfere with it as previous attempts.

After a few decades of study, we finally understand the brain of the brain well enough to change some of its mechanisms in a way that can lead to the design of future treatments for diseases that affect memory. "

Alzheimer's disease is a condition characterized by short-term memory loss, but studies on treating or preventing the condition have yet to find a significant breakthrough.

The authors of the study concluded:

"Our findings show that a simple measure, such as the duration of the SPW-Rs, can provide valuable information on basic neuronal calculations. Learning and accurate withdrawals in spatial memory tasks were associated with extended SPW-Rs."

The first study author, Dr. Antonio Fernandez-Ruiz, who is a postdoctoral colleague in the Buzsaki Laboratory, explained the next steps the research team will take to advance its discovery.

Our next step will be to try to understand how the dangers of sharp dams can be continued with non-invasive means, which if we succeed will have implications for treating memory disorders. "


Long-term hippocampal sharp waves improve memory. (2019). Science. DOI: 10.1126 / science.aax0758.

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