University of Sussex scientists have made a telling breakthrough in detailing the formation of ‘flashbulb memories’, which can help a snail find a sugary treat but also mean a war survivor repeatedly relives their trauma.
The new research brings us much closer to understanding how traumatic memories could be controlled and the cruel blockade on new memories lifted.
Prof George Kemenes and Dr Sergei Korneev at the University of Sussex have identified a specific molecule, a microRNA (miRNA, a very short RNA that does not code any proteins), which plays a key role in ensuring a long-term memory is formed.
The finding could be an important step towards developing treatments for dementia patients as it sheds new light into how two ‘yin and yang’ proteins, CREB1 and CREB2, control the formation or suppression of memories.
The findings from this BBSRC-funded project are significant because it is the first time that specific miRNAs have been shown to play key roles in the forming of long-term memories after a single episode of learning and adds new understanding to how even simple organisms like snails can remember a task after just one attempt.
The discovery, by neuroscientists working in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Sussex and assisted by colleagues at the University of Oxford and in the Koltzov Institute of Developmental Biology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, was established through testing how great pond snails (Lymnaea stagnalis) are able to retain the memory of carrying out a simple task through single trial learning.
In tests, levels of the miRNA Lym-miR-137 were found to significantly increase shortly after single trial learning. This then led to a reduction in the protein Lym-CREB2 mRNA, which is known to play a role in the restriction of memories by acting as a molecular constraint of memory formation.
The results were initially a surprise to the research team as previous experiments on mice showed that reductions in miRNA had enhanced some types of learning and memory.
The team believe that different types of learning are linked with distinct types of miRNA and that a whole complex ‘soup’ of miRNA might be involved in the formation of different types of memory.
The levels of 14 different miRNAs were all found to be altered at differing times during the single-trial learning process.
Prof Kemenes believes that by learning how to control the levels of CREB2 and its counterpart CREB1, a drug could be developed that would relieve the block on forming new memories in dementia patients.
Similarly it has the potential to be used to help repress painful memories within those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Prof Kemenes said: “Controlling the levels of CREB1 and CREB2 helps animals to retain only the memories that are useful for completing a simple task rather than trying to retain a lot of superfluous information.
“The way snails form memories for this kind of learning is similar to how they are formed within humans.
“The flashbulb formation of a memory that is then retained for a lifetime often involves the creation of a very negative memory such as something particularly traumatic or violent but it can also happen after something much more pleasant like a first kiss.
“The more we can learn about the physical process of forming memories, the more hope there is that we could eventually learn ways to counteract conditions where memories are too traumatic or where new memories are being restricted.”
The Latest on: Flashbulb memories
Brick residents return to flood-ravaged homes and sift through ruined memories
on August 15, 2018 at 12:53 pm
They've been staying in a local motel since Monday, when six inches of water entered their home during a flash flood. It's been three days since she had a good night of sleep. The pair are two of the ... […]
Silicon Motion Announces New Dual-Mode Enterprise Class SSD Controller Solution at 2018 Flash Memory Summit
on August 15, 2018 at 7:53 am
SANTA CLARA, Calif., Aug. 7, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Silicon Motion Technology Corporation (SIMO) ("Silicon Motion"), a global leader in designing and marketing NAND flash controllers and solid-state sto... […]
Global Flash Memory Camcorders Market Research Report Forecast 2018-2023 | Exclusive Manufacturers- Samsung, Canon, Panasonic and Sony
on August 15, 2018 at 12:32 am
(EMAILWIRE.COM, August 15, 2018 ) The latest research report titled “Global Flash Memory Camcorders Market Research Report Forecast 2018-2023 offers a thorough executive synopsis of Flash Memory Camco... […]
NVMe, Rulers, and the Flash Memory Summit
on August 14, 2018 at 10:02 am
This year’s Flash Memory Summit (FMS) could be called the Summit of NVMe. NVMe is based on PCI Express providing a memory access protocol to non-volatile memory (NVM). This is typically flash memory, ... […]
Some Flash Memory Keynotes
on August 13, 2018 at 11:17 am
QLC flash memory and Intel/Micron’s 3D XPoint were topics presented at the 2018 Flash Memory Summit keynotes by Toshiba, Micron, SK Hynix, China’s YMTC and Intel. YMTC also gave some insights on their ... […]
Two Startups Use Processing in Flash Memory for AI at the Edge
on August 13, 2018 at 10:32 am
Irvine, Calif.–based Syntiant thinks it can use embedded flash memory to greatly reduce the amount of power needed to perform deep-learning computations. Austin, Texas–based Mythic thinks it can use e... […]
Toshiba Announces New Flash Memory Technology XL-Flash Low-Latency 3D NAND
on August 10, 2018 at 8:28 am
Earlier this week at the Flash Memory Summit or FMS, Toshiba announced its new variant of 3D NAND flash memory, XL-Flash made with the same process as their 96-layer BiCS4 3D NAND, XL-Flash uses a sho... […]
Memory 2.0 -- The Persistent Memory Era
on August 10, 2018 at 4:15 am
1. What Is Persistent Memory? Today we have fast, byte-addressable, volatile DRAM and slower, block-addressable, non-volatile Flash and disk. PM can be directly attached on a memory interface like DDR... […]
Flash Memory Summit 2018 Reveals Best of Show Winners
on August 9, 2018 at 4:43 pm
“These industry-recognized awards went through a rigorous review process, and the winners represent true innovation as leaders in the flash marketplace,” Awards Program Chairman Jay Kramer said. SANTA ... […]
Flash Memory Summit Announces 2018 Best of Show Award Winners
on August 9, 2018 at 12:44 pm
SANTA CLARA, Calif., Aug. 09, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Flash Memory Summit today announced its 2018 Best of Show Awards. This year’s 18 awards recognize the most significant products and companies wor... […]
via Google News and Bing News