Not remembering certain things may be a beneficial functional feature of the brain
Denying us access to certain cells in the brain where memories are stored may be an actual feature of the human organism that helps us improve decision-making, new research suggests.
The inability to recall specific memories under certain environmental conditions does not indicate that the brain is declining, but that it is developing to promote learning and flexible behavior, according to a theory proposed by an international group of scientists.
To better interact with the changing world, the brain switches the part responsible for remembering things”From accessible to inaccessible,” advises Dr Tomas Ryan, a Dublin professor who has been working on the theory with his Toronto colleague Dr Paul Frankland, whose research is post This week in the leading international journal Nature.
“We think forgetting is actually a form of learning that can change the accessibility of memory and how predictable it is depending on the environment,” Dr Ryan said.
The professor explained that collections of neurons called “engram cells” are responsible for preserving memories and are reactivated when memories need to be recalled. Forgetting happens when cells can’t be reactivated — meaning memories aren’t lost, they’re still there, but the brain doesn’t give us access. “forgetting rate“Obviously depends on what’s going on in a fast-changing world.
“It’s as if the memory is stored in a safe, but you don’t remember the unlock code,” the scientist said.
This memory loss does not appear to be permanent, but is reversible in some cases, more like an altered memory access. In some cases it’s not temporary, but not remembering things is a different pathological thing that indicates disease.
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