New study duplicates memory development process in rats
17 June 2011 00:00 in Scientific Developments/Breakthroughs
Scientists have successfully conducted a study in which an electronic system was used to replicate the process of memory acquisition in animal test subjects.
The new technique, created by a University of Southern California team, has been shown to allow researchers to activate and deactivate memories in the brains of rat subjects with long-term memory impairments.
By using the artificial hippocampal system that could duplicate the pattern of interactions between the CA3 and CA1 subregions of the brain, the rats were able to regain the ability to remember how to perform a trained lever-pressing task.
"These integrated experimental modelling studies show for the first time that ... a neural prosthesis capable of real-time identification and manipulation of the encoding process can restore and even enhance cognitive mnemonic processes," said the paper.
It is hoped that this technique, if refined further, could provide a treatment option for Alzheimer's disease and stroke patients in future.
Earlier this year, a Duke University Medical Center team isolated a cascade of signalling molecules in the brain that play a key role in how long-term memories are stored, thus opening new doors for future medical research.
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