Yvonne Carts-Powell

The Haitian as a protein-blocker?

In Uncategorized on November 8, 2008 at 11:11 pm


By Arbitrary.Marks

We’re still a little unclear on what a memory is, although the working theory is that it is a pattern of the strength of connections between the neurons in our brains. But we do know that there is both long-term and short-term memory. And that to make a long-term memory, the brain has to produce certain proteins.

In an open-access paper in the journal Science, Mauro Costa-Mattioli of Baylor College writes about memory and a research project that investigated it:

If making new proteins is the rate-limiting
step required to store new long-lasting memories,
how is this process turned on? If one were
able to identify the triggering mechanism and
switch it on, then stimulation normally eliciting
short-lasting changes should evoke long-lasting
ones. Could an increase in the ability to
make new proteins explain extraordinarily
long-lasting memories?

For his work, Dr. Costa-Mattioli won this year’s Eppendorf & Science Prize for Neurobiology. Other finalists (who also explain their work online) describe the connection between what you see and what you decide, and how proteins misfold (which is– we think– what causes Mad Cow Disease).

But the Haitian takes memories, not just stops them from forming. Hm. Maybe he’s redistributing the weight of neuron strengths? The question remains — how does he know what neurons relate to what memories?

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