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How We Make Memories, The Speedy Brain Process

Update Date: Oct 18, 2013 03:00 PM EDT
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The way we make memories in our brain may be one of the last things on our mind while actually creating a memory in real-time. Memories are a rapid creation. And for that, we ought to thank our speedy brains for providing us such an essential, unseen, unlimited box to store our precious thoughts known to last us a lifetime.

The brain is capable of adapting to any experience and according to a new study when forming a memory our brain might have already been working beforehand to make the process faster.

To form a memory, researchers say it requires a production of proteins at synapses, which means it requires certain compounds to produce at nerve cell connections (synapses).   

Researchers say that to make memory proteins first there is a step called transcription. In transcription information that is kept in the centre of a cell which is saved to a messenger known as RNA (mRNA). Afterwards what is saved is then moved to wherever it is needed in the cell.

The next step in memory making is called translation. The messenger is 'read' by tiny machines called ribosomes. This allows amino acids to form the protein needed for the memory.

According to the study researchers found, "that the mRNA travels to the synapse already attached to the ribosome, with the protein production process stopped just before completion of the product (at the elongation/termination step of translation, where amino acids are being assembled into protein)."

This is when the 'pre-assembly' process happens. This process waits for signals in order to produce many proteins quickly so that a memory can form. 

"It's not only important to make proteins in the right place but, it's also important not to make the protein when it's the wrong time," Dr. Wayne Sossin, neuroscientist at The Neuro and senior investigator on the paper, said in a news release. "This is especially important with nerve cells in the brain, as you only want the brain to make precise connections."  

Researchers believe this is vital because these defects can lead to neurological neurological disease. 

"Understanding the pathways involved may provide new therapeutic targets for neurodevelopmental disorders," said Dr. Sossin. 

The study was done at The Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, The Neuro, McGill University with colleagues at the Université de Montréal.

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