Summary of Portrait of a Memory

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Remember that night when you and your friends had an awesome time? That memory resides somewhere in your brain, and in your friends’ brains. Researchers have long sought to locate the physical traces of our memories, called engrams. A combination of molecular techniques in mice and imaging studies in humans is finally starting to reveal where our memories are stored and the processes involved in retrieving them. getAbstract recommends “Portrait of a Memory” to anyone who has gone through a communal experience and then marveled at how different people’s recollection of the same event can be.

About the Author

Helen Shen is a science journalist based in Sunnyvale, California.

 

Summary

Engrams are the physical traces of memories in the brain.

Scientists have been searching for the physical trace of a memory – an engram – for over a century. Current techniques in imaging and molecular manipulation have led them to conclude that memory encoding, storage and retrieval rely on changes in gene expression in cells that span different brain regions. These changes make new connections between the cells and strengthen extant connections.

Researchers can eliminate memories and create false memories in mice by manipulating specific neurons.

Neurons that house a memory must be both necessary...


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