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jimmydasaint

Where is Human Memory Stored?

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I am fascinated by the possibility of storage of memory in neurons. Where could it be stored? Is it a system of layers of epigenetic switches or is it stored in some other way? Any ideas please?

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I am stumped at the human brain myself, but its amazing. Firstly lets seperate memory from perception, imagination, or illusion, habit? . I know for the later we can argue that each for these sum up what is know as memory! but i am not sure, spirtualist refer to memory as divine, but scientist still remain puzzled. The argument that fibres which just trasmit 'electricity' will store data, is fascinating, but cannot be dismissed. The very answer to your question lies in the question as to what is memory?

 

you might enjoy this http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/memory/

 

I have even stumbled across the memory KIBRA gene uncovered 2006., ill go follow that!

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Livingstone, thanks for the answer. I will read the Stanford entry tonight. However, as for storage of memory, I watched a video about rat neurons cultured in vitro which control the motion of a wheeled machine like a proto-brain. The cultured cells appear to show stronger neurological connections like a stronger memory of something. This research may uncover the true origin of memory and it may finally exclude the thought of a soul driving and influencing matter. Spiritualists may have to look elsewhere for the expression of a soul...

 

Video of the Rat brain controlling a wheeled machine

 

http://videos.howstuffworks.com/reuters/13612-early-cyborg-is-a-rat-video.htm

 

I think this is from the same team:

 

As the cells are living tissue, they are kept separate from the robot in a temperature-controlled cabinet in a container pitted with electrodes. Signals are passed to and from the robot via Bluetooth short-range radio.

The robot and rat brain cells work together

 

 

The brain cells have been taught how to control the robot's movements so it can steer round obstacles and the next step, say its creators, is to get it to recognise its surroundings.

 

Once the robot can do this the researchers plan to disrupt the memories in a bid to recreate the gradual loss of mental faculties seen in diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

 

Studies of how neural tissue is degraded or copes with the disruption could give insights into these conditions

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7559150.stm

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Yeah i read that story, but there was another entry on science blogs i think which suggested that the story is alittle bit exagerated, and that the people who are pushing it fail to mention the large transduction unit whose role has not clearly been explained or even mentioned, They say no computers but the blog argues that there is an advanced computer program known to convert the neuronal activity into the mechanical activity of the wheels (May be just another noisy or gossip blogg but there you go) I dont know if thats been published yet but i could not locate any stuff after searching

 

i cant really get that link, but what they said is that the former comprises of a complex algorithm. which to me displaces the argument that the rats neuronal cells do anything more than just pass the APs on as you'ld expect the circuits of your pcs mother board to an external processing unit

 

But anyways its an interesting story

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Memory is probably not stored in a place. There is a strong likelihood, that memory is "stored" holographically. The "reverberating loops" of neurons first discussed by D.O. Hebb do exist in the brain, but there are many different loops reverberating at once in ever shifting patterns. These loops create electromagnetic interference patterns in the cortex similar to the ones used to create holographic images (three dimensional photographs). While there is no "hard" proof that these internally generated interference patterns are actually memories, there are strong similarities. Human memory degrades (gets fuzzy) in the same way holographic images do when part of them is lost. In addition, the ongoing interference pattern changes as new sensory information comes into the brain and these changes can restimulate neurons so as to reactivate previous reverberating loops. That provides the capacity for memory storage. I discuss this theory in some detail on my website appliedcognitivescience.org if you are interested.

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Its really fascinating! Where are the words stored, where in the brain are the letters stored? In fact, in many aspects it resembles computers' memory. The brain stores memory in the form of 'dynamic proteins' which are continuously recycled. You can even erase 'long term memories', as computer RAMs do when the power is switched off!

The brain even has an indexing algorithm like that of a search engine. Mere thinking of a song or a sequence, elicits 'related' memories. It occurs due to extensive interlinking (association fibers). We are still babies as far as unravelling is concerned.

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Simplifying, memory is stored by means of changes in the connexions between the different neurons.

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Simplifying, memory is stored by means of changes in the connexions between the different neurons.

 

Are you talking about gap junctions? I thought they were used to transport ions and other solutes between the cells of a tissue. I think storage of memory is more complex than that I don't know from where you got that idea.

 

 

To Jimmydasaint

According to the latest research in molecular neurobiology. We view that memory and learning is nothing but a further differentian of neurons. ( I am not talking about the way our brains produces images this is still a unsolved mystery)

 

Memory is stored between synaptic junctions by the growth of synaptic spines. The plasticity of the information stored in the brain depends on two important factors:-

 

1. The reactivity of the receptors (present in the post synaptic junction) to the neurotransmitters

2. The type of ion that enters through the receptor.(it can be Na+, K+, Cl etc)

 

Stuart Hameroff went on to explain that quantum computation may be occuring in microtubles coupled to actin and mysin which attaches synaptic vesicles (organelles carrying neurotransmitters) to the projections present in the presynptic membrane giving even more plasticity for information storage in the brain.

 

You should also remember that the brain has 9 billion neurons and each neuron is connected to another 100 to 200 thousand other neurons and each neuron further differentiates by making synaptic contact which are very plastic.

 

For an anology it is like a radio, you make all the connections for the perfect working of your radio and just fine tune it to hear some melodies.

 

One more advice, Roger Penrose along with Stuart hameroff have shown that we are very much connected to the fundamental reality than we have thought of and we play an important role in the universe and you just can't exclude what Spiritualist have said that easily.

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I think storage of memory is more complex than that I don't know from where you got that idea.

 

I'm pretty sure that's why zule opened their post by using the word, "Simplifying." This implies to me that they well understand that "storage of memory is more complex than that." :rolleyes:

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Are you talking about gap junctions? I thought they were used to transport ions and other solutes between the cells of a tissue. I think storage of memory is more complex than that I don't know from where you got that idea.

 

I got that idea mainly for my job as a researcher in neurochemistry. But there is a high probability that I am wrong, because I am blonde :doh:

 

When someone is talking about connections between neurons, at least they specify other thing; they are talking about synaptic junctions.

 

Glutamate is the main neurotransmitter implicated in memory formation. The activation of glutamate receptors prompts a signalization cascade that will lead to “short time memory” (seconds or minutes).

 

For “long term memory”, we need repetitive stimulations of glutamate receptors. These stimulations lead to activation or inhibition of genes, prompting synaptic plasticity: molecular changes are going to happen, being the more notable the variation in the number and distribution of connections between the different neurons.

 

The more accepted theory about the long term memory is that memory is stored by means of changes in the connexions between the different neurons

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I think it's important that all readers of this thread note that memory is not the same as a hard drive in a computer or a VHS tape. It's not "stored" anywhere, really, but there are definitely some areas more important in the process than others.

 

This site provides a good simple primer:

 

 

http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/hippo.html

Many structures are involved in the complex process of encoding memories. How each structure contributes to this process is not fully known. It is known that there are different types of memories: conscious memories such as your first day at school, and non-conscious memories or skills such as knowing how to ride a bike. It is also known that the hippocampus helps form conscious memories. This new research demonstrates that the hippocampus is "crucial to unconscious recognition of more complex patterns."

 

 

And here is a more complete page, with lots of games, and then further down brief discussions of some of the various topics in memory research, like the "primacy/recency" effect and "chunking."

 

http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/chmemory.html

Edited by iNow

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Perhaps is only questions of semantics, iNow, but I am not agree with your statement about not being a place where the memory is stored. It seems to be stored in the neocortex, but it is true that it is not stored as if the brain was a DVD. The form of storage would be the circuits which are formed due to the new synapses constituted by synaptic plasticity. The activation of these new built circuits would allow remembering.

 

Regarding the first link, it doesn’t actually talk about storing memories, but about encoding them. The memories first have to be encoded in the hippocampus in a process in which neurotransmitters dopamine and acetylcholine seem to be mainly involved. Then, memories are progressively transferred to the neocortex to be stored.

 

Thank you very much for the second link. It seems amusing. I will look at it carefully. I don’t know how you do to find always the best links.

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That's fair. My point is that we don't so much "store" information as you would on a hard disk or DVD, where you access specific spots of specific information to retrieve specific memories. Our memories are complex interplays of various regions in the brain, multiple regions of activatoin, and the content within is generally very sparse (and we also tend to fill in the gaps and make stuff up which never happened).

 

I trust that we don't disagree with one another on the physiology, and that I may have chosen my words poorly when expressing this point above. Enjoy.

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Memory seems to be a source of knowledge, or perhaps just is retained knowledge. Estimates of the number of synapses have been made in the range from 1013 to 1015, with corresponding estimates of memory capacity. Memory is a label for a diverse set of cognitive capacities by which humans and perhaps other animals retain information and reconstruct past experiences, usually for present purposes. Brain areas such as the hippocampus, the amygdala, the striatum, or the mammillary bodies are thought to be involved in specific types of memory. Learning and memory are attributed to changes in neuronal synapses, thought to be mediated by long-term potentiation and long-term depression. The best way to improve memory seems to be to increase the supply of oxygen to the brain, which may be accomplished with aerobic exercises.

---------------

Lonet

Edited by YT2095
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Are you talking about gap junctions? I thought they were used to transport ions and other solutes between the cells of a tissue. I think storage of memory is more complex than that I don't know from where you got that idea.

 

 

To Jimmydasaint

According to the latest research in molecular neurobiology. We view that memory and learning is nothing but a further differentian of neurons. ( I am not talking about the way our brains produces images this is still a unsolved mystery)

 

Memory is stored between synaptic junctions by the growth of synaptic spines. The plasticity of the information stored in the brain depends on two important factors:-

 

1. The reactivity of the receptors (present in the post synaptic junction) to the neurotransmitters

2. The type of ion that enters through the receptor.(it can be Na+, K+, Cl etc)

 

Stuart Hameroff went on to explain that quantum computation may be occuring in microtubles coupled to actin and mysin which attaches synaptic vesicles (organelles carrying neurotransmitters) to the projections present in the presynptic membrane giving even more plasticity for information storage in the brain.

 

You should also remember that the brain has 9 billion neurons and each neuron is connected to another 100 to 200 thousand other neurons and each neuron further differentiates by making synaptic contact which are very plastic.

 

For an anology it is like a radio, you make all the connections for the perfect working of your radio and just fine tune it to hear some melodies.

 

One more advice, Roger Penrose along with Stuart hameroff have shown that we are very much connected to the fundamental reality than we have thought of and we play an important role in the universe and you just can't exclude what Spiritualist have said that easily.

 

I don't think Hameroff's model is widely accepted is it? It is an attractive theory but there does not seem to be much real scientifically provable evidence for it although there is a lot of theoretical modelling - much of which I struggle to understand without a grounding in quantum physics.

http://www.quantumconsciousness.org/

 

CreigUSA is there any empirical evidence for what you say?

Memory is probably not stored in a place. There is a strong likelihood, that memory is "stored" holographically. The "reverberating loops" of neurons first discussed by D.O. Hebb do exist in the brain, but there are many different loops reverberating at once in ever shifting patterns.

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I don't think Hameroff's model is widely accepted is it? It is an attractive theory but there does not seem to be much real scientifically provable evidence for it although there is a lot of theoretical modelling - much of which I struggle to understand without a grounding in quantum physics.

http://www.quantumconsciousness.org/

 

 

Jimmydasaint I advice you to read the book 'A Beginner's guide to Quantum mechanics' by Michael Rae I hope this will help you in having a basic foundation in quantum mechanics. Even if this did not work then don't worry I myself as a layman don't know how to view the quantum world and I have no idea how the physcists view the world. It confused its creator Erwin Scrodinger and it continues to confuse everyone.

 

As far as Hameroff's model is concerned there is a strong reason to believe that it may be correct owing to the fact that quantum physics plays a very important role in living organisms. However still much research has to be done to confirm the theory. It is also very much consistent with what spiritualists have said.

 

Apoorva Patel at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore has shown why our genetic code has four nucleotide bases and 20 amino acids using the Grover's algorithm which uses quantum properties.

http://www.ias.ac.in/jbiosci/jun2001/145.pdf

 

If life is an algorithm and if we all had been blindly programmed then how did nature find that algorithm. Any programmer easily understands that no good program will arrive by accident. Every good program requires some forethought about who will use it? what software product will it produce? etc. As far as I know there is no process in nature which could create codes and algorithms. You may say that it is random but that does'nt mean that nature is random. Things appear random because of the lack of information that you have about the system more than anything else. I think there is a connection between physical entropy and Informational entropy.

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I don't think Hameroff's model is widely accepted is it? It is an attractive theory but there does not seem to be much real scientifically provable evidence for it

 

The Penrose-Hameroff proposal has been widely criticized by the scientific community. The foremost refutation comes from Max Tegmark in his paper "The importance of quantum decoherence in brain processes".

 

Based on a calculation of neural decoherence rates, we argue that that the degrees of freedom of the human brain that relate to cognitive processes should be thought of as a classical rather than quantum system, i.e., that there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the current classical approach to neural network simulations."

 

Our brains are composed of structures too large to exhibit distinctly quantum mechanical properties.

 

As far as Hameroff's model is concerned there is a strong reason to believe that it may be correct owing to the fact that quantum physics plays a very important role in living organisms.

 

The role quantum physics plays in living organisms is nondistinct from the role it plays in any other matter. Living organisms are composed of relatively large structures compared to the quantum scale, and classical physics, chemistry, and thermodynamics are more than sufficient to understand how living systems work. There have been no great mysteries in biology which necessitate a quantum mechanical solution.

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The Penrose-Hameroff proposal has been widely criticized by the scientific community. The foremost refutation comes from Max Tegmark in his paper "The importance of quantum decoherence in brain processes".

 

Well Hameroff himself had said that the neurons in the brain may act as quantum at one time and classical at other times. Your researcher argues against the Hameroff's model by saying that the collision between ions will quickly decohere the system without exhibiting any quantum phenomena. But I find no reason why nature could'nt have find out a solution for that. It is very much possible that the vibrational energy of the ions can be decreased by spreading their energy in a phononic field and there by the nature may add some constrains so that they remain in coherence something which normally happens in a superconductor (however at low temp). I think still more experiments have to be done before coming to any conclusion.

 

Our brains are composed of structures too large to exhibit distinctly quantum mechanical properties.

 

Well there is no demarcation line so that you can make a distinction between quantum and classical systems. As the technology progresses larger structures will be shown to have wave properties.

 

The role quantum physics plays in living organisms is nondistinct from the role it plays in any other matter. Living organisms are composed of relatively large structures compared to the quantum scale, and classical physics, chemistry, and thermodynamics are more than sufficient to understand how living systems work. There have been no great mysteries in biology which necessitate a quantum mechanical solution.

 

Well if this was the case then the problem of abiogenesis would have been solved long before. With the amount of new data that we are getting for evolution by NS we certainly need a new theory to explain these data because the new synthetic theory has some drawbacks. If a new theory did exists then it has to address the problem of self organisation. Kaufmann said "There is organisation for free in living organisms".

 

The same is with the neural network theory. It has some severe drawbacks. Its inability to explain the origin of experiences like pain, pleasure etc and also the inner voice forces me to look for a new theory. You just can't say that the experience is just an emergent phenomena due to some complex computation if it is then show me how. I think most people do research on these issues only for personal reasons.

 

There is a difference between sensation and perception. If dolphins developed human intelligence and if they go on to explain the physical world then do their models of the world will be identical to ours? It looks like we all had been programmed to see the world in this way.

 

What I like about the Penrose-Hameroff's model is their mechanism. But I don't like the idea that the collapse of the wave function will result in a particular experience. I also think that consciousness is discrete.

Edited by immortal

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How about the pineal gland?

What specifically about it are you proposing or asking about? If you are suggesting that memory may be stored in the pineal gland, I'd encourage you to elaborate on your reasons and offer some supporting evidence that has led you to such a proposal.

 

Also, here's a good read:

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/pineal-gland/

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All I was doing was saying "how about this" pineal gland. Has anyone arrived at the conclusion this area ought to be studied for serving any memory function at all. The thought to do so arrives from my own mind dude; since it can.

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It is very much possible that the vibrational energy of the ions can be decreased by spreading their energy in a phononic field and there by the nature may add some constrains so that they remain in coherence something which normally happens in a superconductor (however at low temp). I think still more experiments have to be done before coming to any conclusion.

 

This is a dandy hypothesis, but there's no evidence for it whatsoever. If what you're saying is the case it'd be a major revolution in biology. However after years of research into the way neurons operate, no evidence for quantum mechanical behavior has been found.

 

Well there is no demarcation line so that you can make a distinction between quantum and classical systems.

 

There certainly is: can the behavior of the systems be modeled with classical mechanics, or do we notice a breakdown in classical models such that quantum mechanics is necessary to explain their behavior?

 

The behavior of neurons has been studied extensively at the molecular level. Neurons are presently being modeled on the molecular level as part of the BlueBrain project. Their models are based around classical mechanics.

 

There have been no great mysteries in biology which necessitate a quantum mechanical solution.

 

Well if this was the case then the problem of abiogenesis would have been solved long before.

 

Abiogenesis is a mystery, but is the solution necessarily quantum mechanical? We have no reason to believe that.

 

The same is with the neural network theory. It has some severe drawbacks. Its inability to explain the origin of experiences like pain, pleasure etc and also the inner voice forces me to look for a new theory.

 

Again, this is a mystery, but why is the solution necessarily quantum mechanical?

 

In these sorts of problems bringing in quantum mechanics is a red herring. It offers no more explanatory power than a magical rock. There's no evidence that quantum mechanics has anything to with these cases. It's a "god of the gaps" argument, or in this case a "quantum in the gaps" argument.

 

All I was doing was saying "how about this" pineal gland. Has anyone arrived at the conclusion this area ought to be studied for serving any memory function at all. The thought to do so arrives from my own mind dude; since it can.

 

The pineal gland has been studied extensively. It produces melatonin, a hormone that affects our circadian rhythms. It has nothing to do with memory.

 

The structures most involved with memory are the neocortex and the hippocampus.

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There certainly is: can the behavior of the systems be modeled with classical mechanics, or do we notice a breakdown in classical models such that quantum mechanics is necessary to explain their behavior?

 

A better question to ask is why there is a neccesity for a quantum information processing in the brain?

 

Earlier I said that there is a difference between sensation and perception. We don't directly interact with the physical world. There is a delay between sensation and perception but the brain compensates for that giving an illusion as though we are directly interacting with the physical world. One of the explanation for this compensation was given by Roger penrose. He says time flows backwards and the brain somehow recieves the information from the near future and gives us a sense of perception

without any delay.

 

Again, this is a mystery, but why is the solution necessarily quantum mechanical?

 

In these sorts of problems bringing in quantum mechanics is a red herring. It offers no more explanatory power than a magical rock. There's no evidence that quantum mechanics has anything to with these cases. It's a "god of the gaps" argument, or in this case a "quantum in the gaps" argument.

 

 

You are right, just because quantum mechanics is a wierd science it is wrong to believe that every problem is somehow connected to QM. But there is nothing wrong in making any hypothesis which make sense.

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One simple way to address memory is does memory store energy or lower energy in the brain? In other words, if we added a memory and only look in terms of an energy balance, does the brain gain a slight amount of energy or does it lower energy by a slight amount?

 

If the answer is "gains energy" due to the electrical impulse, if the brain is designed to constantly trying to lower energy, while memory is semi-stable, but at higher energy, it will reorganize structured memory in the direction of lower energy, becoming part of larger structures or memory organizations.

 

For example, we see something new. It can get us excited. If we place it into a catalogue of similar things we are satisfied and excitement lowers. If there is no catalogue the excitement remains. If we can give it a logical explanation then we can rest. Both affects involve single isolated memories being moved into the direction of larger organization. The brain may also do this naturally, in an attempt to lower energy into logical and integrated arrangements which represents lowest energy states.

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Pioneer - In sum, no. Your entire post is rubbish (using vague and undefined metaphor as if that somehow is supposed to add some sort of meaning).

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