Scientist Crack the Brain's Memory Code
Given that the brain's synaptic components last but a short time, it has been a mystery to scientists how the brain stores memories, which can last nearly an entire lifetime.
What's the Latest Development?
Scientists believe they have cracked the code used by the brain to store memories. A team of Canadian and American researchers have found a plausible way of encoding synaptic memory in the brain using microtubules, which are major components of the structural system which supports the integrity of the brain's neurons. "Microtubules define neuronal architecture, regulate synapses, and are suggested to process information via interactive bit-like states of tubulin." It is the first time scientists have found a code connecting microtubules to synapses.
What's the Big Idea?
The popular analogy of the brain to a computer is effective in much of what the brain does, such as processing raw data into recognizable patterns. When it comes to memory, however, the analogy falls apart. There is no central hard drive on which the brain appears to store memory. In fact, the synaptic components that are believed to process and store memory are relatively short-lived, though memories can last a lifetime. By using microtubules to better understand memory, scientists hope to combat memory-related disease like Alzheimer's.
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These modern-day hermits can sometimes spend decades without ever leaving their apartments.
- A hikikomori is a type of person in Japan who locks themselves away in their bedrooms, sometimes for years.
- This is a relatively new phenomenon in Japan, likely due to rigid social customs and high expectations for academic and business success.
- Many believe hikikomori to be a result of how Japan interprets and handles mental health issues.
How a cataclysm worse than what killed the dinosaurs destroyed 90 percent of all life on Earth.
While the demise of the dinosaurs gets more attention as far as mass extinctions go, an even more disastrous event called "the Great Dying” or the “End-Permian Extinction” happened on Earth prior to that. Now scientists discovered how this cataclysm, which took place about 250 million years ago, managed to kill off more than 90 percent of all life on the planet.
A new study discovers the “liking gap” — the difference between how we view others we’re meeting for the first time, and the way we think they’re seeing us.
We tend to be defensive socially. When we meet new people, we’re often concerned with how we’re coming off. Our anxiety causes us to be so concerned with the impression we’re creating that we fail to notice that the same is true of the other person as well. A new study led by Erica J. Boothby, published on September 5 in Psychological Science, reveals how people tend to like us more in first encounters than we’d ever suspect.
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