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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The way that you think about stress can actually transform the effect that it has on you – and others.
- Stress is contagious, and the higher up in an organization you are the more your stress will be noticed and felt by others.
- Kelly McGonigal teaches "Reset your mindset to reduce stress" for Big Think Edge.
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The issues that determine your health go way beyond seeing your doctor.
- The average American spends about 24 hours a year at the doctor's office.
- What you do the other 364 days a year mostly determines your health.
- Michael Dowling discusses Northwell's focus on environmental, social, economic and other social determinants of health.
The blood of horseshoe crabs is harvested on a massive scale in order to retrieve a cell critical to medical research. However, recent innovations might make this practice obsolete.
- Horseshoe crabs' blue blood is so valuable that a quart of it can be sold for $15,000.
- This is because it contains a molecule that is crucial to the medical research community.
- Today, however, new innovations have resulted in a synthetic substitute that may end the practice of farming horseshoe crabs for their blood.
These quick bursts of inspiration will brighten your day in 10 minutes or less.
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