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Memory Recording in Rats [Notes on the Acceleration] - Synchronicity swirls and other foolishness

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June 17th, 2011

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12:34 am - Memory Recording in Rats [Notes on the Acceleration]
This NYT article is the most impressive thing I've read in several years. The meat of the discovery is this:
The rats were implanted with a tiny array of electrodes, which threaded from the top of the head down into two neighboring pieces of the hippocampus, a structure that is crucial for forming these new memories, in rats as in humans. The two slivers of tissue, called CA1 and CA3, communicate with each other as the brain learns and stores new information. The device transmits these exchanges to a computer.

To test the effect of the implant, the researchers used a drug to shut down the activity of CA1. Without CA1 online, the rats could not remember which lever to push to get water. They remembered the rule — push the opposite lever of the one that first appeared — but not which they had seen first.

The researchers, having recorded the appropriate signal from CA1, simply replayed it, like a melody on a player piano — and the animals remembered. The implant acted as if it were CA1, at least for this one task.

“Turn the switch on, the animal has the memory; turn it off and they don’t: that’s exactly how it worked,” said Theodore W. Berger, a professor of engineering at U.S.C. and the lead author of the study, being published in The Journal of Neuroengineering and Rehabilitation.
This looks a whole lot like memory recording. Until this is tried on a human, we won't know what was actually recorded, but this could be huge. Being able to record and replay memories would be amazing, and that's not even considering that it might be possible to replay one person's memory in another's brain. The actuality of what was discovered may prove far more limited, but it's still remarkably impressive, and I expect that in 5 years we'll see a lot more about this. Wow, we are living in an amazing age, and once again, I have only a limited idea what 2020 will look like, and 2030 will be utterly amazing.
Current Mood: impressedimpressed

(2 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:June 17th, 2011 08:00 am (UTC)
That's amazing!
[User Picture]
Date:June 19th, 2011 10:30 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the this truly inspirational article. As someone in her thirties, this gives me hope for my own old age. The technologies that will arrive by the time I get old will be truly amazing (assuming that the shortage of fossil fuels does not wipe out technological progress by then).

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