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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: The Seattle Times
Date: 21 Sept 2014
Scientists at the University of Washington are figuring out what happens as children learn — and how to assist those who struggle.
Source: Inside Science
Date: 9 Sept 2014

Researchers in Pittsburgh, using a brain-computer interface, have shown why learning something similar to what you already know--a repertoire of previous knowledge--makes learning new things easier.

Source: The Atlantic
Date: 12 Aug 2014
A manmade virus that acts like “a remote control” for neurons helped psychologists research the connection.
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