Memory permanence may be mediated by rehearsal following learning
on 22 April 2020
The Memory Puzzle

Some interesting news on new ideas about memories, how they are formed, retrieved and restored. It has long been accepted that the process thru which this occurs is thru protein synthesis, Clayton Dickson and his team have other ideas. Keep an ear out for future news but don't hold your breath, these things take time . . . 

The plus and the minus, signs of electrical balance!

The permanence of memories has long been thought to be mediated solely by the production of new proteins. However, new research from the University of Alberta has shown that the electrical activity of the brain may be a more primary factor in memory consolidation and reconsolidation Although protein production has long been known to be associated with memory recall and the consolidation processes of restoring any memory. I suppose it is the electrical activity that is the surprise? Although before almost anything can happen in the brain, there has to be an action potential and that is mostly a consequence of shifting the electrical charge inside and outside the cell membrane. The brain itself is an electrochemical processor and consequently, an electrical powerhouse. On a separate but also electrical note, one thing that is known to interfere with the whole process of memory is the stress response. Not the normal everyday experiences or responses to stressors (unless those too are excessive) but rather the overabundance of stressors that are not actually there! 

One may reasonably ask, how can we respond to a stressor that isn't actually there? Sensory responses to experienced situations that were real or at least seemed real, get stored in memory, usually emotional memory. Once in memory, any sensory experience the same or very similar can stimulate the memory and elicit the response to that memory or associated memories that get linked to it! So, as an example, take a man or a woman who has had a string of failed relationships, eventually, it becomes possible for them to see all men or all women as a source of stress. They seem powerless to choose an appropriate partner and the brain sees all men/women as things to avoid. It's pretty much the same psychology and physiology involved in most other stress invoking situations.

Hypnotherapy has a unique ability to change the way these memories are both stored and how they respond to sensory stimuli, especially to the stimuli that you are not even aware of that is causing the problem. The issue of failed relationships almost always (but not always) has its roots in our developing years. Years that are consequential of the way our young immature brain encodes sensory experience into defensive memories. Very often these defensive memories are appropriate in a childhood sense, they just do not translate that well into the adult experience. Often this is a consequence of how we evaluate things as an adult, after all, we are more intelligent, cognitively aware, intuitive and logical. That in and of itself is the problem because we can add a spin, an angle, a story to a childhood memory, using language we didn't have and a logic that had not evolved as a child and in the process of that; we corrupt or distort the memory. Now we are having an adult memory of a childhood experience. The fundamental issue though is that the original memory is still encoded with the childhood emotion. Spider phobics offer a good explanation for this dilemma. Every spider phobic I have ever worked with has said something like, "I'm educated, intelligent, logical, I know they won't hurt me." But that is what they know as an adult, intellectually, rationally and cognitively, they just don't know it emotionally and the fear of the spider is the emotional response to a long-ago stored memory that had the intention to keep you safe.

Hypnotherapy has successfully cured many spider phobics. The original memory is still there, it just doesn't fire in the same order and because of that, you no longer have the intrepid fear you uses to experience, even if it was only a spiders web! Again, it is very similar, in terms of brain activity, for almost all emotional issues, because the sameness is in the brain systems involved, it's merely how those systems have been wired, from birth, and how they get interpreted or misinterpreted as we grow and mature! C'est la Vie!

Hypnotherapy stands out as one of the most effective strategic life management methods there is, especially in its ability to promote clear thinking and good states of mental wellness. The behaviours that make life challenging are often a result of too much stress, too little or poor quality sleep and too little by way of mental and emotional clarity! So, to get or take back control of your mind and your life, it makes perfect sense to use a methodology that addresses the subconscious brain's role in perpetuating negative, vague and ambiguous states of mind. Hypnosis helps us to create calm relaxing states of mind that make life work better! If you would like to address any concerns you have in this direction, or, if you just want the ability to make your life feel better, then why not make an appointment for a Free Consultation? Hypnosis gives you the ability to have a good life! 

My objective is to help people understand how and why we become illogically trapped into emotional experiences that may actually be happening but for reasons, we may never have imagined! If you want to know more about Hypnotherapy, why not make an appointment for a Free Consultation?

For more information on the Free Consultation - Go Here Or, to book your Free Consultation today, you can do so here

The Research:

"It's not just protein synthesis, long the dominant biological model, but also 'offline' memory rehearsal in the brain that leads to memory solidification," says Clayton Dickson, a psychology professor at the University of Alberta and one of the authors of the new study. "Although the protein synthesis idea is entrenched in the field, we and others have been closely examining the older data that supports this and have found some perplexing inconsistencies." For this study, Dickson worked with his undergraduate psychology honours students Jonathan Dubue and Ty McKinney as well as his departmental colleague Dallas Treit, all at the University of Alberta and all part of the Neuroscience and Mental Health Institute.

"Learning is thought to occur 'online' by creating new or strengthened synaptic connections," says Dickson. "However, we also know that the period directly following learning--when the brain is 'offline'--is critical for solidifying that information." Although agents that block protein synthesis can block future retrieval of this information at this stage, Dickson has long been convinced that this might be caused by disruption of electrical activity. He equates this stage to a mental rehearsal of the preceding events, activity patterns that likely help set the memory in the subject's brain.

The stage when a brain is actively engaged in a new experience can be described as an "online" activity. On the flip side of this neurological process, "offline" activity, or neural replay, is the process by which the brain rehearses what has been learned in order to strengthen the most important memories. What Dickson and his collaborators have shown is that protein synthesis inhibitors disrupt activity and can also disrupt "online" processing as well.

"Memory permanence is a critical element of our day-to-day lives," continues Dickson. "Understanding how our brains solidify memories is essential for treating memory disorders and, in the case of post-traumatic stress disorder, for potentially ridding oneself of bothersome memories. The more we understand about the process, the more likely we can find a way for people to improve their good memories and eliminate the bad."

There are only a handful of labs worldwide that critically assess the role of protein synthesis inhibition in memory and synaptic plasticity, including Dickson's at the University of Alberta. "We are interested in what kind of neural activity patterns, i.e. brain waves, might specifically be involved in memory consolidation. We are currently trying to directly manipulate these patterns by using simple electrical methods."

Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by the University of Alberta. The original item was written by Jennifer Pascoe. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:

J. D. Dubue, T. L. McKinney, D. Treit, C. T. Dickson. Intrahippocampal Anisomycin Impairs Spatial Performance on the Morris Water Maze. Journal of Neuroscience, 2015; 35 (31): 11118 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1857-15.2015