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Forgetting

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what, in neurological terms, is forgetting?

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If your brain deems a piece of information important, it will remember it forever (long-term memory). If your brain deems the information unimportant, it will be forgotten quickly (short-term memory). I can't explain any more complicated than this because I don't know all the little details myself, but that is the basic idea.

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yeh, i get the basic idea, but im looking more for a bio chemical sort of answer.

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When the brain is trying to remember something, transcription occurs. Transcription is when Creb protein enter the nucleus of brain cells and effects certain genes. The proteins then strengthen synapses and prevent neruons from coming into contact with eachother. To forget something, the Creb protein is chemically changed or there is damage to part of the brain (such as the fornix which is believed to be connected to memory).

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If your brain deems a piece of information important, it will remember it forever (long-term memory). If your brain deems the information unimportant, it will be forgotten quickly (short-term memory). I can't explain any more complicated than this because I don't know all the little details myself, but that is the basic idea.

 

You are young, aren't you? Trust me, that changes over time.

 

Now where did I put my keys?

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I wonder if anyone else has experienced something like this....

 

I'm sitting at dinner with some friends, and two of us are discussing someone we both knew years ago.

 

"What was that guy's name, it's right on the tip of my tongue?"

 

"I can't think of it either. I remember he worked at thus and so place, he was big and bald, and wore the craziest ties."

 

"You're right - that's him, same guy."

 

So the conversation changes, and now I'm talking to someone else about something else. Suddenly, the name from before comes to me, I turn to my other friend, and say "That guy's name was Joe Schmoe".

 

I have this picture of a little elf in my brain going back in the archives to the file cabinet marked 1975, blowing off the dust, knocking away the cobwebs, and rooting through the files even though I'm not aware of it. All of a sudden, he finds the right file, and shouts "Joe Smoe" in my ear.

 

Am I nuts, or does anyone else have this happen?

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Happens to me all the time.

 

The other person has completly forgotten what ye were talking about and you just turn around and call out his name!!

 

When someone's name is on the top of your tongue but you can't remember it, I think it helps to stop talking about it. Instead of concentrating too hard on the guys name, you should relax your mind and it will come too you eventualy.

 

Nothing too chemical about remembering stuff here!! :D

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I have this picture of a little elf in my brain going back in the archives to the file cabinet marked 1975' date=' blowing off the dust, knocking away the cobwebs, and rooting through the files even though I'm not aware of it. All of a sudden, he finds the right file, and shouts "Joe Smoe" in my ear.

 

Am I nuts, or does anyone else have this happen?[/quote']

 

Yep. But my little elf is taking longer and longer to access the archives. :-(

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I remember talking about this in my psycology class.

 

Isn't it that when the information gets old, or is deemed useless, the gleal(sp?) cells come and clear out the information from the nerve cell?

 

.... anyway, I think I remember hearing that ... or maybe I forgot...

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Am I nuts, or does anyone else have this happen?

 

The brain supposedly stores information in graph structures which are traversed in a similar manner to Markov chains. When you try to remember something that you can't immediately deduce, your brain continues looking for a route to the information you were trying to remember in the background.

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I have this picture of a little elf in my brain going back in the archives to the file cabinet marked 1975' date=' blowing off the dust, knocking away the cobwebs, and rooting through the files even though I'm not aware of it. All of a sudden, he finds the right file, and shouts "Joe Smoe" in my ear.

 

Am I nuts, or does anyone else have this happen?[/quote']What I hate is when the elf grabs a file next to the right file, or maybe misreads the label:

 

"What was her name?"

 

"Sharon, something."

 

"Shiela, Shiela Pearson."

 

"Patterson, you mean Shiela Patterson."

 

"That's it!"

 

It's almost as if the elf is throwing out suggestions to another elf, one who doesn't remember the information on his own, but will recognize it when he hears it.

 

* sigh *

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I remember talking about this in my psycology class.

 

Isn't it that when the information gets old' date=' or is deemed useless, the gleal(sp?) cells come and clear out the information from the nerve cell?

 

.... anyway, I think I remember hearing that ... or maybe I forgot...[/quote']

 

 

But if the cells have been cleared out then how do you remember it again?

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When the brain is trying to remember something, transcription occurs. Transcription is when Creb protein enter the nucleus of brain cells and effects certain genes. The proteins then strengthen synapses and prevent neruons from coming into contact with eachother. To forget something, the Creb protein is chemically changed or there is damage to part of the brain (such as the fornix which is believed to be connected to memory).

 

Fornix?

 

And what are machov chains?

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When the brain is trying to remember something, transcription occurs. Transcription is when Creb protein enter the nucleus of brain cells and effects certain genes. The proteins then strengthen synapses and prevent neruons from coming into contact with eachother. To forget something, the Creb protein is chemically changed or there is damage to part of the brain (such as the fornix which is believed to be connected to memory).

I thought the transcription/CREB step was when a memory was formed?

 

As for what forgetting is, well you would have to know what memory is and that is not entirely worked out. Different types of memory happen in different parts of the brain, so what exactly causes you to forget someone’s name may not be the same as what causes you to forget where an old friend lives.

 

Memory is a little better understood in invertebrates, specifically Aplysia californica. In aplysia memory formation is directly related to increases in the strength of specific synapses. What we would term "forgetting" is related to decreased strength of these same synapses. So if the same rules apply to humans (hahaha) then decreased synaptic fidelity in those synapses coding a memory would be the cause of forgetting (note that this is wild conjecture). This loss of synaptic fidelity could have any number of causes. The neuron could die (Alzheimer's, CJD, Dementia...), synapses that are rarely used may be removed (see Hebb's postulate), or the little elf just took a nap, there is really no telling.

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