Researchers have uncovered how long-term memories are erased

1 April 2016

Scientists from the University of Edinburgh have conducted research that has unveiled vital information as to how the brain erases long-term memories.

The study was carried out on rats and it revealed that forgetting things can be the result of the brain deleting information, rather than simply failing to remember something.

With the results, the researchers feel that there are some pointers that will help medical professionals tackle memory loss associated with diseases like Alzheimer's disease and similar forms of dementia.

It's hoped that the findings will also help to reveal why some unwanted memories are long-lasting with regards to people who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorders.

Memories are maintained by chemical signalling between brain cells and the signalling relies on AMPA receptors.

Stronger memories will have more AMPA receptors on the surface of where the brain cells connect, while weaker memories have far fewer receptors.

The team lead by the University of Edinburgh found that memories are actively destroyed when brain cells remove AMPA receptors from the connections between brain cells.

If you don't physically recall the memory, over time the AMPA receptors can fall in number, leading in it being gradually erased.

Posted by Jeanette Royston

 

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