“The team of scientists is the first to uncover a central process in encoding memories that occurs at the level of the synapse, where neurons connect with each other. ‘When we learn new things, when we store memories, there are a number of things that have to happen,’ said senior author Kenneth S. Kosik, co-director and Harriman Chair in Neuroscience Research, at UCSB’s Neuroscience Research Institute. Kosik is a leading researcher in the area of Alzheimer’s disease. ‘One of the most important processes is that the synapses — which cement those memories into place — have to be strengthened,’ said Kosik. ‘In strengthening a synapse you build a connection, and certain synapses are encoding a memory. Those synapses have to be strengthened so that memory is in place and stays there. Strengthening synapses is a very important part of learning. What we have found appears to be one part of how that happens.’”
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