Scientists have proven that forgotten memories can return

Ученые доказали, что забытые воспоминания можно вернуть

Us neuroscientists were able to restore people’s lost memories even after holding their chains of neurons ceased to communicate with each other, indicating that chemical rather than electrical nature of working memory, according to an article published in the journal Science.

“Many people believed that neurons must continuously exchange pulses in order to keep something in memory. But our experiments have shown that people can remember things with remarkable precision without showing any activity of this kind. The fact that we were able to recover the memories, casts doubt on this idea. We just don’t yet know how the brain stores information,” said brad Postle (Brad Postle) from the University of Wisconsin in Madison (USA).

Quite a long time, scientists believed that memory in our brain is stored in the form of sets of electrical impulses exchanged between cells in the so-called hippocampus, the memory center of the brain. The situation changed dramatically in 2012, when neuroscientists from MIT found in the hippocampus, particular nerve cells, so-called engrams-neurons, which turned out to be a kind of “cells” of memory, where you store individual memories.

This has led many scientists to believe that our memory is either purely chemical, or electrochemical nature, and that many irregularities in her work are associated with breakdowns in the cellular systems that control metabolism in neurons. Following this idea, biologists last year were able to suppress and then restore a specific memory of some of the mice, their irradiating nerve cells with a laser.

Postle and colleagues went further – they were able to recover the memories, which their owners have forgot, using a special magnetic stimulator of the activity of nerve cells.

How to tell the scientists, they put together a small group of volunteers who were asked to view a series of slides, where it shows faces of different people, words, moving geometric shapes and other things. At this time, the biologists monitored the activity of their brains using magnetic resonance imaging and noted those points in the hippocampus that intensified in the formation of memories about a particular object in the picture.

After some time, biologists have begun to show pictures in pairs, asking the participants to focus on one of them and watching the activity of those areas where there was recorded information about these objects.

Initially, in the words of old, the high level of activity was typical for that, and for other zones, but over time that part of the brain that stored the information about the second object gradually became inactive. This means, as explained by neuroscientists that memories of her were pushed out of working memory and almost completely forgotten.

After the participants “forgot” about the second subject, the scientists decided to test what would happen if their associated nerve cells to stimulate with a magnetic field.

As it turned out, such stimulation almost instantly made the nerve cells to resume the exchange of pulses that the volunteers themselves felt as an unusual concentration in the second subject, which they could not suppress. Sometimes they even mistakenly believed that scientists asked them to pay attention to him, not at first picture.

Such systems stimulate memory, as the scientist believes, can be used not only to improve and accelerate learning, but also for the solution of medical tasks – for example, for the treatment of schizophrenia, depression, attention deficit disorder and other problems related to incorrect operation of the memory.

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