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
- Power Outage at Samsung Destroys 3.5% of Global NAND Flash Output For March on March 16, 2018 at 8:26 pm
The half hour power outage reportedly damaged 50,000 to 60,000 wafers of V-NAND memory, which represent 11% of Samsung's monthly output, and 3.5% of the global NAND output. Ugh, if the enthusiast PC market didn't need yet another slap across its face right ... […]
- Western Digital, Micron Stocks Jump As Memory-Chip Crunch Avoided on March 16, 2018 at 11:51 am
Western Digital, a leading provider of Nand-flash memory chips and also the largest provider of disk drives, on Friday was upgraded to outperform rating from neutral by Baird analyst Tristan Gerra, based on stronger than expected memory chip trends. […]
- Power Outage at Samsung’s Fab Destroys 3.5% of Global NAND Flash Output For March on March 16, 2018 at 4:00 am
Media reports claim that the outage destroyed as much as 3.5% of the global NAND supply for March, which may have an effect on flash memory pricing in the coming weeks. The outage happened on March 9 and lasted for about 30 minutes, according to a news ... […]
- Samsung Electronics says to start building new China memory chip line this month on March 15, 2018 at 12:12 am
SEOUL (Reuters) - Samsung Electronics Co Ltd plans to begin building a new memory chip production line in China in late March, a spokesman said on Thursday, as the tech giant ramps up efforts to boost NAND flash technology to meet future demand. […]
- Flash Resident USB-HID Bootloader With the NXP Kinetis K22 Microcontroller on March 14, 2018 at 10:24 pm
The more numerous or the more complex communication protocols are used, the more FLASH memory is occupied by the bootloader. With the USB HID enabled, the size is around 26 KByte of FLASH, it fits into the memory area below 0xb000 (see text, data ... […]
- Samsung suffers from power outage, up to 60,000 wafers for NAND flash memory damaged on March 14, 2018 at 2:48 pm
Samsung has lost a severe amount of NAND memory wafers during a brief power outage in a NAND flash plant from the Korean chip giant. On the 9th of March this year, the fab in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, lost power for about 30 minutes. It’s estimated that ... […]
- Samsung Power Outage Kills 3.5% Of Global Flash For March on March 14, 2018 at 2:12 pm
Increased global production from Samsung and its rivals should offset the the loss globally. These companies enjoy a small stockpile of flash memory that didn't exist last year due to strong demand and lower production output as companies shifted to new 64 ... […]
- Kingston Digital releases Canvas line of flash cards to suit consumers’ needs on March 13, 2018 at 6:59 am
Kingston Digital, the flash memory affiliate of Kingston Technology Company, announced on Monday its new series of ‘Canvas’ Flash memory cards. Canvas will offer three different variations in both SD and microSD cards: Select, Go, and React to suit ... […]
- Kingston Digital Announces New ‘Canvas’ Series of Flash Cards on March 12, 2018 at 8:08 am
Kingston Digital, Inc., the Flash memory affiliate of Kingston Technology Company, Inc., a world leader in memory products and technology solutions, announced today its new series of ‘Canvas’ Flash memory cards. Canvas will offer three different ... […]
- Trauma and dementia patients given hope by 'flashbulb memory' breakthrough on March 9, 2018 at 4:31 am
A snail enjoys a taste of Brighton rock as part of tests into its ability to perform single trial learning. Credit: University of Sussex University of Sussex scientists have made a telling breakthrough in detailing the formation of 'flashbulb memories ... […]
via Google News and Bing News