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To make memories, new neurons must erase older ones

To make memories, new neurons must erase older ones
Short-term memory may depend in a surprising way on the ability of newly formed neurons to erase older connections. That's the conclusion of a report in the November 13th issue of the journal Cell, a Cell Press publication, that provides some of the first evidence in mice and rats that new neurons sprouted in the hippocampus cause the decay of short-term fear memories in that brain region, without an overall memory loss. The researchers led by Kaoru Inokuchi of The University of Toyama in Japan say the discovery shows a more important role than many would have anticipated for the erasure of memories. They propose that the birth of new neurons promotes the gradual loss of memory traces from the hippocampus as those memories are transferred elsewhere in the brain for permanent storage. Although they examined this process only in the context of fear memory, Inokuchi says he "thinks all memories that are initially stored in the hippocampus are influenced by this process."

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Researchers show that memories reside in specific brain cells Our fond or fearful memories — that first kiss or a bump in the night — leave memory traces that we may conjure up in the remembrance of things past, complete with time, place and all the sensations of the experience. Neuroscientists call these traces memory engrams. But are engrams conceptual, or are they a physical network of neurons in the brain? In a new MIT study, researchers used optogenetics to show that memories really do reside in very specific brain cells, and that simply activating a tiny fraction of brain cells can recall an entire memory — explaining, for example, how Marcel Proust could recapitulate his childhood from the aroma of a once-beloved madeleine cookie. In that famous surgery, Penfield treated epilepsy patients by scooping out parts of the brain where seizures originated.

02.22.2010 - An afternoon nap markedly boosts the brain’s learning capacity If you see a student dozing in the library or a co-worker catching 40 winks in her cubicle, don’t roll your eyes. New research from the University of California, Berkeley, shows that an hour’s nap can dramatically boost and restore your brain power. Indeed, the findings suggest that a biphasic sleep schedule not only refreshes the mind, but can make you smarter. Students who napped (green column) did markedly better in memorizing tests than their no-nap counterparts.

Brain innately separates living and non-living objects for proce For unknown reasons, the human brain distinctly separates the handling of images of living things from images of non-living things, processing each image type in a different area of the brain. For years, many scientists have assumed the brain segregated visual information in this manner to optimize processing the images themselves, but new research shows that even in people who have been blind since birth the brain still separates the concepts of living and non-living objects. The research, published in today's issue of Neuron, implies that the brain categorizes objects based on the different types of subsequent consideration they demand—such as whether an object is edible, or is a landmark on the way home, or is a predator to run from. They are not categorized entirely by their appearance. "When we looked at the MRI scans, it was pretty clear that blind people and sighted people were dividing up living and non-living processing in the same way," says Mahon. Story source

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The Ten Most Revealing Psych Experiments Psychology is the study of the human mind and mental processes in relation to human behaviors - human nature. Due to its subject matter, psychology is not considered a 'hard' science, even though psychologists do experiment and publish their findings in respected journals. Some of the experiments psychologists have conducted over the years reveal things about the way we humans think and behave that we might not want to embrace, but which can at least help keep us humble.

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Guide to Getting Started in Machine Learning Someone at work recently asked how he should go about studying machine learning on his own. So I’m putting together a little guide. This post will be a living document…I’ll keep adding to it, so please suggest additions and make comments. Fortunately, there’s a ton of great resources that are free and on the web. The very best way to get started that I can think of is to read chapter one of The Elements of Statistical Learning: Data Mining, Inference, and Prediction (2009 edition).

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Biofeedback Biofeedback is the process of gaining greater awareness of many physiological functions primarily using instruments that provide information on the activity of those same systems, with a goal of being able to manipulate them at will.[1][2] Some of the processes that can be controlled include brainwaves, muscle tone, skin conductance, heart rate and pain perception.[3] Biofeedback may be used to improve health, performance, and the physiological changes that often occur in conjunction with changes to thoughts, emotions, and behavior. Eventually, these changes may be maintained without the use of extra equipment, even though no equipment is necessarily required to practice biofeedback.[2] Biofeedback has been found to be effective for the treatment of headaches and migraines.[4][5]

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