As you read this article, you may not be consciously trying to memorize each sentence, but the words do need to stick around temporarily. After all, you have to remember what you just read to understand the full article. This is your working memory, sometimes called “short-term memory,” and it allows us to remember things just long enough to complete a task. Its decline is … Continue reading Need to jog your memory? A zap to the brain could help
They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks – but maybe you can have an old brain grow new neurons. New research published in Nature Medicine has shed some light onto the debated topic of whether adult brains can create new neurons in the hippocampus, the region of the brain that is important in short- and long-term memory consolidation. As you might expect, … Continue reading Old Brain, New Neurons?
In 2018, approximately 5.7 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s dementia, a number that is expected to double within the next 30 years. Alzheimer’s disease causes memory loss, mood changes, and eventually difficulty speaking, swallowing, and walking. Currently, no medication exists that can slow or stop the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and no new treatments have been approved by the FDA in more than 15 … Continue reading Hope for Alzheimer’s patients? The first positive clinical trial results in years
What is the hardest thing you think scientists need to do in a lab? Organic chemistry may not be the first thing that comes to mind, but multi-step organic syntheses are easily ranked a top challenge, even among experienced chemists. Nevertheless, computer scientists surprised us again with artificial intelligence (AI) which, despite having less chemistry experience than the average high-schooler, could prescribe recipes with success. … Continue reading AI advises chemists on how to make complex molecules
by Xiaomeng Han figures by Abigail Burrus What comes to mind when you hear the term electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)? A cruel torture method for disobedient psychiatric patients portrayed in films like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest? Or a last-resort for treatment-resistant depression with less discomfort and fewer side-effects? New developments in using ECT to treat Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder might soon give us a new way … Continue reading Can We Erase Painful Memories with Electroconvulsive Therapy?
by Henry Wilkin figures by Rebecca Clements The original dream of research in artificial intelligence was to understand what it is that makes us who we are. Because of this, artificial intelligence has always been close to cognitive science, even if the two have been somewhat far apart in practice. Functional AIs have tended to do best at quickly finding ‘good-enough’ approaches to problems that … Continue reading Psychosis, Dreams, and Memory in AI
For decades now, scientists have believed that working memory, a form of short term memory, can be accessed only through the sustained firing of neurons. Working memory is used constantly in our day to day lives — from remembering the name of someone you just met while carrying on a conversation, to mixing the right ingredients in a recipe – it allows us to access … Continue reading New method successfully recovers lost short-term memories
by Fernanda Ferreira figures by Krissy Lyon Arianna Huffington wants you to get more sleep. Arianna Huffington wants you to leave your phone, with its blue light and sleep-disrupting screen, outside your bedroom and get some sleep. In 2007 the co-founder of The Huffington Post collapsed from exhaustion. Blacking out was the wake up call that put in motion Huffington’s transformation from sleep deprived to … Continue reading Remembering the Importance of Sleep for Memory Formation