Posts tagged memory
“Neurons that fire together, wire together.” This adage is a helpful reminder to students who take a course on memory and the brain. This rhyme captures our understanding that neurons have a self-reinforcing capability that links them, and that this capacity has some relation with how memory in the brain works. It makes sense that if the same groups of neurons are involved in processing some stimulus, strong and stable connections rather than weak and transient would be preferable. We use similar optimizations when we place people on a speed-dial list, bookmark a website, or create a playlist of songs.
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Alzheimer’s disease is a debilitating disease where neurons in the brain die. These neurons are called basal forebrain cholinergic neurons and their job is to help the hippocampus retrieve memories in the brain. Alzheimer’s disease patients do not have the ability to retrieve memories. It’s not that those memories are lost, they just cannot be retrieved. In early Alzheimer’s, these special neurons die. Since there are so few to be found within the brain, their death can quickly become devastating.
Northwestern Medicine researchers have made a major discovery that can aid in understanding and treating Alzheimer’s. These researchers have taken human More >
Kim Peek (November 11, 1951 – December 19, 2009) was an inconceivably gifted savant. In today’s terms we might describe him as a living version of Google, but far better. He could of course, give you driving directions to any place in the country, and open the entire course of human history with names, dates, facts and figures to astonishing accuracy, but he was more than this, he was a person. He was a person doing things that no one would think a person could do, and that is the signature of savantism.
It is important to remember that savantism is More >