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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.