Here come clues to long-term memory making

March 21st, 2011 - 1:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, March 21 (IANS) You may recall the exact shade of your beloved’s eyes for years. But how do you do it? Answer to the question may have a bearing on Alzheimer’s, autism and mental retardation.

Duke University Medical Centre researchers have found a cascade of signalling molecules that usually allow a very brief signal to last for tens of minutes.

These boost synapses (linking nerve or brain cells for flow of information) and improve connectivity, capable of dredging up a memory for a long time, the journal Nature reports.

Their findings about the synapses could have a link to Alzheimer’s disease, autism and mental retardation, said Ryohei Yasuda, assistant professor of neurobiology at Duke University.

“We found that a biochemical process that lasts a long time is what causes memory storage,” said Yasuda, senior study author, according to a Duke statement.

Researchers were investigating the signalling molecules that regulate actin, a component of the cytoskeletal system, which serves as the structural framework of synapses.

“The signalling molecules could help to rearrange the framework, and give more volume and strength to the synapses,” Yasuda said.

“We reasoned that a long-lasting memory could possibly come from changes in the building block assemblies,” he added.

-Indo-Asian News Service

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