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BrainFacts.org

Introduction

From song lyrics to former addresses, our brains hold a seemingly endless supply of information. How are we able to learn, store, and recall information with such ease? Brain cells undergo chemical and structural changes during learning. By changing the number, or strength, of connections between brain cells, information is written into memory. Ongoing studies are helping scientists identify how different areas of the brain work together to enhance memory formation and storage. This insight could one day guide new treatments for learning disorders and memory loss. Advances in molecular biology and genetics are offering new clues about key molecules and proteins that influence memory. Recent animal studies suggest that manipulating these molecules could lead to new ways of modifying memories, with the potential of weakening traumatic memories that may underlie post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Similar studies may lead to new treatment options for memory loss.

Discoveries

Source: Society for Neuroscience
A protein involved in long-term memory formation may hold a clue to understanding Alzheimer’s disease.
Source: The Kavli Foundation
Science writer Bruce Lieberman asked questions about memory and the brain of two leading researchers in the field: Bradford Dickerson and Mayank Mehta.
Source: Society for Neuroscience
While experts debate the type and length of practice that is optimal for success, one thing is clear: training improves performance and changes the brain.

Learning and Memory in the News

Source: CBS
Date: 13 Nov 2014
Taking vitamin B12 and folic acid supplements may not reduce the risk of developing memory and thinking problems in older people, a new study finds.
Source: NPR Ed Blog
Date: 24 Oct 2014

What, exactly, is curiosity and how does it work? A study suggests that the brain's chemistry changes when we become curious, helping us better learn and retain information.

Source: Nature
Date: 6 Oct 2014
Nobel prizewinners May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser have spent a career together near the Arctic Circle exploring how our brains know where we are.
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