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29

The phenomenon you're talking about was a fad in the 60's, called 'interanimal memory transfer'. It started out when James McConnell performed a later-discredited experiment in which he found that if you chopped up flatworms which had been exposed to some stresses, and fed them to other unexposed flatworms, the unexposed worms became wary of the source of ...


20

Unfortunately, we are all still "confuzzled" by how memory works. We are far from a complete understanding of how memory is stored and recalled. Nonetheless, we do know a little, so read on. Your understanding of basic neural function is almost correct. First, an individual neuron will signal through its single axon onto the dendrites of many downstream ...


10

Answer The mechanism for salmon natal homing isn't exactly known, but there are really two good hypotheses out there. Salmon have an extremely good sense of smell. One hypothesis is that they retain an imprint of their birthplace's odor, and manage to recognize it again at a later time (as explained by this article). Another hypothesis: the Earth's ...


8

Surely a important question. But there are different kinds of memory (classified mainly as declarative and procedural) which you don't specify exactly in your question. Wikipedia and Scholarpedia list here many known facts. I will give you some short hints and links for introduction and overview instead of pasting that stuff here. You are probably ...


6

The idea that memories could be stored as RNA or proteins is an old one. It got a lot of attention decades ago when James McConnell did a number of experiments where he conditioned planarian flatworms to respond to certain stimuli, ground them up, fed them to worms that hadn't gone through the conditioning. He claimed to have observed that the worms fed ...


6

The current working theory (note this is still an open question, but there are many leads being followed): Sensory systems receive a combination of signals from an event, which are initially bound to the hippocampus (this is called episodic memory). Then, typically during sleep, the memories are consolidated. A simplified view is that consolidation ...


5

I would like to point out some ways your understanding is wrong. "Neural networks" are usually a computer science term, only very, very loosely based on actual neural networks. The idea of layers in a neural network is pretty much an invention of computer science, it doesn't really reflect the reality. Also, neurons are not binary switches. It isn't so much ...


3

Is there clear evidence that LTP is involved in long-term memory (not counting 1 hour as long-term...)? Has LTP/LTD been shown in vivo after long period of time (e.g. months). This Journal of Neuroscience paper shows LTP in vivo measured out to one year: Abraham WC, Logan B, Greenwood JM, Dragunow M. 2002. Induction and experience-dependent ...


2

There seems to be no effect of vitamins. This paper ("Preventing cognitive decline in healthy older adults." found no evidence for herbal supplements, vitamins or fatty acids improve cognitive functions. There seems to be some evidence ("Preventing Alzheimer's disease-related gray matter atrophy by B-vitamin treatment.") that a cocktail of hig dosed ...


2

Although there is clearly no feasible mechanism for such a phenomenon, there is good evidence that transplant patients can believe in some sort of transference of qualities from the donor. See for example (my emphasis): Inspector, Y. et al. (2004) Another Person's Heart: Magical and Rational Thinking in the Psychological Adaptation to Heart ...


2

This is somewhat unrelated, and for that, I apologize, but I find it truly fascinating, and I believe you will too. Zebra finches are a song bird that have become a popular model organism for behavioral research. They have a very stereotypical pattern for song learning: at about 70 days after hatching, the baby male song bird starts to listen to his ...


2

Really good questions. As the guy who brought up LTP/LTD in the question you referenced, I thought I would weigh in. There is the traditional definition of LTP/LTD as an increased/decreased synaptic efficacy at a single synapse or in a single cell. As you've noted, this is unlikely to be the only phenomena underlying memory and sometimes it's hard to see ...


2

Good questions. I don't think that LTP has been (or will be) shown to be THE mechanism for long term memory. It is one of many mechanisms, all with different time courses, that contribute to the modification of synaptic efficiencies. One mechanism not mentioned much anymore, but which I feel is absolutely crucial, is dendritic spine growth. Spines are ...



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