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Scientists retrieve lost memories using optogenetics

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posted on Jun, 2 2015 @ 09:19 PM

Researchers have found that memories that have been 'lost' as a result of amnesia can be recalled by activating brain cells with light. They reactivated memories that could not otherwise be retrieved

The finding answers a fiercely debated question in neuroscience as to the nature of amnesia

Neuroscience researchers have for many years debated whether retrograde amnesia -- which follows traumatic injury, stress, or diseases such as Alzheimer's -- is caused by damage to specific brain cells, meaning a memory cannot be stored, or if access to that memory is somehow blocked, preventing its recall.

"The majority of researchers have favored the storage theory, but we have shown in this paper that this majority theory is probably wrong,"... ..."Amnesia is a problem of retrieval impairment."

Further studies carried out by Tonegawa's group demonstrated that memories are stored not in synapses strengthened by protein synthesis in individual engram cells, but in a circuit, or "pathway" of multiple groups of engram cells and the connections between them.


Wow. I wonder what implications this could have for people suffering an impairment of memory.
Since this is ATS though, I have to also wonder whether this could help alleged abductees remember their particular abduction experiences.
Would this also help adults remember events which happened to them as children?
Hopefully someone with some scientific knowledge can share their thoughts

posted on Jun, 2 2015 @ 09:32 PM
Wow this is something to look forward too. My poor grandmother has lost complete recognition of me, my siblings, my mother...

She has been the biggest sweetheart in my life, and most caring hardworking lady. It's heartbreaking to witness ..

Our future advancements in science, I hope one day, can cure and repair this memory impairment issue our elders have been facing.

Thanks for sharing.

posted on Jun, 2 2015 @ 09:42 PM
It's not that useful for people, for oh so many reasons.

The real value of the paper is more that they seem to have discovered that memories you're amnestic for are still there, you've just lost the lookup table entries for it, which can be restored by stimulating the hippocampal cells that hold the memory.

In the case of this paper, the procedure involves knowing exactly where that is, physically, so you have to give the mouse that memory while labeling those neurons that pick up the memory (nasty). The mice have to have been gene spliced to produce a certain rhodopsin in their neurons so you can fire the things with a light pulse. And you have to have fiber optics in their brains to illuminate the particular memory neurons in the hippocampus that stored that memory. And you have to keep the mouse's brain from indexing the memory by giving it a drug.

That will keep the mouse from retaining the memory. But it's still there, apparently, just misplaced. When you fire that memory up "manually" with the light pulse on just the right genetically modified neuron, then the mouse brain will re-index the memory and voila! it's available to the mouse again.

But for a normal person, this wouldn't be an option. It's not like they are shining a flashlight on you and you suddenly recall your birth.

It's grotesquely invasive, and requires a lot of gene mods and the like. It's a lab trick for figuring out what bits do what in mice and cats. Not so great for people.

To me, what's REALLY interesting is the anisomycin that's used to prevent the memory storage. That sounds like it has promise for a lot of things, most of them bad.

posted on Jun, 2 2015 @ 09:44 PM
There's some evidence to suggest that Alzheimers is caused by a diet deficiency. Making sure that you have a balanced diet with brain nutrients (vitamins, fish oils, fats) will remove the risk. There's also some research that proves that certain recreational drugs could restore brain function (amphetamines).

There's also evidence that each neuron "stores" a connection map of all the synapses that it has. It's known that bears coming out of hibernation are able to recover from a 30% loss of connections. For humans, it would just require knowning the right chemical messages to send to encourage reconstruction of synapses.

I'm not sure about the use of light in helping recover memories. But all the other things above will help.

posted on Jun, 2 2015 @ 09:54 PM
a reply to: trollz

This is quite interesting. Here's hoping that a way can be found to test this more and help the retrieval of blocked memories. I believe such blockages although perhaps a live-saving device used by the traumatized person at the time eventually become real problems for people. In my own family alone I know it would really help to be able to know exactly what happened to different individuals.

On the other hand, after going through a long process to deal with a trauma I endured, I felt I was really coming out the other end of it, letting go of the hurt and pain, forgiving and getting on with it when wham, I was re-traumatized all over again, sending me into a state of shock, reliving all the painful details just like the first time. It lasted a full week or more and included some horrible nightmares. I'm not sure I know what the trigger was.

posted on Jun, 2 2015 @ 11:14 PM
you do know that they can implant false memories the same way and I actually found this Acticle a while back

heres the link
edit on 2-6-2015 by freefall2020 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 4 2015 @ 07:52 AM
a reply to: trollz

Does that mean that all of us have an impaired retrieval process, except for a select few who have perfect recall?

posted on Jun, 4 2015 @ 07:59 AM
This seems like it could tie into something a former member of this site said about a year ago.

Having the brain perform subconscious work for other people. a low frequency light being the interface.

posted on Jun, 4 2015 @ 03:52 PM
a reply to: BASSPLYR

Nah. Unless you've been gene modded and have fiber optics in.

It's a lab trick to let them isolate what individual neurons do. It doesn't let them shine a light on you and take over your brain.

posted on Jun, 4 2015 @ 04:55 PM
a reply to: Bedlam

Not saying that.

More like can light going through the optic nerve effect the neurons in the brains optical regions localized parts and from there, have via neural induction, an effect on other parts of the brain? Like how flashing lights at certain frequency induce epileptic seizures. But more subtle than that.

Like is the human brain susceptible in general to stimulation similar to that and can the optic nerve be used as a key to get in the front door?

Or sound, listen to a low frequency repetitive beat for long enough and the brain entrains to ut and weird stuff happens cognitively.

Or why even use light? Can radio waves/ microwaves/ whatever waves induce direct stimulation into the brain or via induction of some sort, inducing desired or calculated effects in the subjects brain? Can't one replicate the same effects light plays (energy stimulation) using that method instead? Blast a subject and flash nuerons in a organized manner indicative of data transfer or disruption. Creating in effect a stupidifyer or a vertigo or a panic/fear or a makey-smarter beam? Or a way to send data packets in some small way?

The uses for such woukd be pretty diverse. Make troops surrender with the panic beam.
Make pilots crash with the virtigo beam (software might prevent this).
Make troops faster thinking while slowing down and confusing enemy troops. Brain helmet interfaces for hardware like fighter jets and drones. Subconscious data transmission whatever that is. All sorts of avenues could be explored going the route of the premis of my post.

edit on 4-6-2015 by BASSPLYR because: (no reason given)

edit on 4-6-2015 by BASSPLYR because: (no reason given)


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