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17 Learning and Memory. 17 Learning and Memory Functional Perspectives on Memory There Are Several Kinds of Memory and Learning Memory Has Temporal Stages:

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Presentation on theme: "17 Learning and Memory. 17 Learning and Memory Functional Perspectives on Memory There Are Several Kinds of Memory and Learning Memory Has Temporal Stages:"— Presentation transcript:

1 17 Learning and Memory

2 17 Learning and Memory Functional Perspectives on Memory There Are Several Kinds of Memory and Learning Memory Has Temporal Stages: Short, Intermediate, and Long Successive Processes Capture, Store, and Retrieve Information in the Brain Different Brain Regions Process Different Aspects of Memory

3 17 Learning and Memory Neural Mechanisms of Memory Memory Storage Requires Neuronal Remodeling Invertebrate Nervous Systems Show Plasticity Synaptic Plasticity Can Be Measured in Simple Hippocampal Circuits

4 17 Learning and Memory Neural Mechanisms of Memory (continued) Some Simple Learning Relies on Circuits in the Mammalian Cerebellum In the Adult Brain, Newly Born Neurons May Aid Learning Learning and Memory Change as We Age

5 17 There Are Several Kinds of Memory and Learning Learning is the process of acquiring new information. Memory is: The ability to store and retrieve information. The specific information stored in the brain.

6 17 There Are Several Kinds of Memory and Learning Patient H.M., Henry Molaison, suffered from severe epilepsy. Because his seizures began in the temporal lobes, a decision was made to remove the anterior temporal lobes on both sides. H.M.’s surgery removed the amygdala, the hippocampus, and some cortex.

7 Figure 17.1 Brain Tissue Removed from Henry Molaison (Patient H.M.)

8 17 There Are Several Kinds of Memory and Learning Retrograde amnesia is the loss of memories formed before onset of amnesia and is not uncommon after brain trauma. Anterograde amnesia is the inability to form memories after onset of amnesia. H.M. had normal short-term memory but had severe anterograde amnesia.

9 17 There Are Several Kinds of Memory and Learning Damage to the hippocampus can produce memory deficits. H.M. was able to show improvement with motor skills but could not remember performing them (i.e. he could not recall the tasks verbally.). H.M.’s memory deficit was confined to describe the tasks he performed.

10 Figure 17.2 Henry’s Performance on a Mirror-Tracing Task

11 17 There Are Several Kinds of Memory and Learning Two kinds of memory: Declarative memory deals with what—facts and information acquired through learning that can be stated or described. (Things we are aware that are learned.) Nondeclarative (procedural) memory deals with how—shown by performance rather than conscious recollection.

12 Figure 17.3 Two Main Kinds of Memory: Declarative and Nondeclarative

13 17 There Are Several Kinds of Memory and Learning Damage to other areas can also cause memory loss. Patient N.A. has amnesia due to accidental damage to the left dorsal thalamus, bilateral damage to the mammillary bodies (limbic structures in the hypothalamus), and probable damage to the mammillothalamic tract. Like Henry Molaison, he has short-term memory but cannot form declarative long- term memories.

14 Figure 17.4 The Brain Damage in Patient N.A.

15 17 There Are Several Kinds of Memory and Learning Korsakoff’s syndrome is a memory deficiency caused by lack of thiamine—seen in chronic alcoholism. Patients often confabulate—fill in a gap in memory with a falsification which they accept as true. Brain damage occurs in mammillary bodies and dorsomedial thalamus, similar to N.A., and to the basal frontal cortex.

16 17 There Are Several Kinds of Memory and Learning Two subtypes of declarative memory: Semantic memory—generalized memory Episodic memory—detailed autobiographical memory Patient K.C. cannot retrieve personal (episodic) memory due to accidental damage to the cortex and severe shrinkage of the hippocampus and parahippocampal cortex; his semantic memory is good.

17 17 There Are Several Kinds of Memory and Learning Three subtypes of nondeclarative memory: Skill learning—learning to perform a task requiring motor coordination. Priming—repetition priming—a change in stimulus processing due to prior exposure to the stimulus. Conditioning—the association of two stimuli or of a stimulus and a response.

18 Figure 17.5 Subtypes of Declarative and Nondeclarative Memory

19 17 Memory Has Temporal Stages: Short, Intermediate, and Long Iconic memories are the briefest memories and store sensory impressions that only last a few seconds. Short-term memories (STMs) usually last only for up to 30 seconds or throughout rehearsal. Short-term memory is also known as working memory.

20 Figure 17.6 Stages of Memory Formation

21 17 Memory Has Temporal Stages: Short, Intermediate, and Long Working memory can be subdivided into three components, all supervised by an executive control module: Phonological loop—contains auditory information Visuospatial sketch pad—holds visual impressions Episodic buffer—contains more integrated, sensory information

22 17 Memory Has Temporal Stages: Short, Intermediate, and Long An intermediate-term memory (ITM) outlasts a STM, but is not permanent. Long-term memories (LTMs) last for days to years.

23 17 Memory Has Temporal Stages: Short, Intermediate, and Long Mechanisms differ for STM and LTM storage but are similar across species. The primacy effect is the higher performance for items at the beginning of a list (LTM). The recency effect shows better performance for the items at the end of a list (STM).

24 Figure 17.7 Serial Position Curves from Immediate-Recall Experiments (Part 1)

25 Figure 17.7 Serial Position Curves from Immediate-Recall Experiments (Part 2)

26 17 Memory Has Temporal Stages: Short, Intermediate, and Long Long-term memory has a large capacity. Information can also be forgotten or recalled inaccurately.

27 17 Successive Processes Capture, Store, and Retrieve Information in the Brain A functional memory system incorporates three aspects: Encoding—sensory information is passed into short-term memory. Consolidation—short-term memory information is transferred into long- term storage. Retrieval—stored information is used.

28 Figure 17.8 Hypothesized Memory Processes: Encoding, Consolidation, and Retrieval

29 17 Successive Processes Capture, Store, and Retrieve Information in the Brain Multiple brain regions are involved in encoding, as shown by fMRI. For recalling pictures, the right prefrontal cortex and parahippocampal cortex in both hemispheres are activated. For recalling words, the left prefrontal cortex and the left parahippocampal cortex are activated.

30 17 Successive Processes Capture, Store, and Retrieve Information in the Brain Thus, the prefrontal cortex and parahippocampal cortex are important for consolidation. These mechanisms reflect hemispheric specializations (left hemisphere for language and right hemisphere for spatial ability).

31 17 Successive Processes Capture, Store, and Retrieve Information in the Brain The engram, or memory trace, is the physical record of a learning experience and can be affected by other events before or after. Each time a memory trace is activated and recalled, it is subject to changes.

32 17 Successive Processes Capture, Store, and Retrieve Information in the Brain Consolidation of memory involves the hippocampus, but the hippocampal system does not store long-term memory. LTM storage occurs in the cortex, near where the memory was first processed and held in short-term memory.

33 Figure 17.9 Encoding, Consolidation, and Retrieval of Declarative Memories

34 17 Successive Processes Capture, Store, and Retrieve Information in the Brain In posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD, characterized as reliving and being preoccupied by traumatic events), memories produce stress hormones that further reinforce the memory. GABA, ACh, and opioid transmission can also enhance memory formation in animal models. Treatments that can block chemicals acting on the basolateral amygdala may alter the effect of emotion on memories.

35 Box 17.1 The Amygdala and Memory

36 17 Successive Processes Capture, Store, and Retrieve Information in the Brain The process of retrieving information from LTM can cause memories to become unstable and susceptible to disruption or alteration. Reconsolidation is the return of a memory trace to stable long-term storage after it’s temporarily volatile during recall.

37 17 Successive Processes Capture, Store, and Retrieve Information in the Brain Reconsolidation can distort memories. Successive activations can deviate from original information. New information during recall can also influence the memory trace.

38 17 Successive Processes Capture, Store, and Retrieve Information in the Brain Leading questions can lead to ‘remembering’ events that never happened. ‘Recovered memories’ and ‘guided imagery’ can have false information implanted into the recollection.

39 Figure Are “Recovered” Memories Reliable?

40 17 Different Brain Regions Process Different Aspects of Memory Testing declarative memories in monkeys: Delayed non-matching-to-sample task—a test of object recognition memory, where the subject must choose the object that was not seen previously.

41 Figure The Delayed Non-Matching-to-Sample Task

42 17 Different Brain Regions Process Different Aspects of Memory Medial temporal lobe damage causes impairment on the delayed nonmatching-to-sample task. The amygdala is not necessary for declarative memory tasks. The hippocampus (in conjunction with the entorhinal, parahippocampal) and perirhinal cortices, is important for these tasks.

43 Figure Memory Performance after Medial Temporal Lobe Lesions

44 17 Different Brain Regions Process Different Aspects of Memory Imaging studies confirm the importance of medial temporal (hippocampal) and diencephalic regions in forming long-term memories. Both are activated during encoding and retrieval, but long-term storage depends on the cortex.

45 17 Different Brain Regions Process Different Aspects of Memory Episodic and semantic memories are processed in different areas. Episodic (autobiographical) memories cause greater activation of the right frontal and temporal lobes.

46 Figure My Story versus Your Story

47 17 Different Brain Regions Process Different Aspects of Memory Early research indicated that animals form a cognitive map—a mental representation of spatial relationships. Latent learning is when acquisition has taken place but has not been demonstrated in performance tasks.

48 Figure Biological Psychologists at Work

49 17 Different Brain Regions Process Different Aspects of Memory The hippocampus is also important in spatial learning. It contains place cells that become active when in, or moving toward, a particular location. Place cells remap when a rodent is placed in a new environment.

50 17 Different Brain Regions Process Different Aspects of Memory Grid cells and border cells are neurons that fire when animal is at an intersection and at the perimeter of an abstract grid map, respectively.

51 17 Different Brain Regions Process Different Aspects of Memory In rats, place cells in the hippocampus are more active as the animal moves toward a particular location. In monkeys, spatial view cells in the hippocampus respond to what the animal is looking at.

52 17 Different Brain Regions Process Different Aspects of Memory Comparisons of behaviors and brain anatomy show that increased demand for spatial memory results in increased hippocampal size (relative to the rest of the brain) in mammals and birds. In food-storing species of birds, the hippocampus is larger but only if used to retrieve stored food.

53 Figure 6.6 Food Storing in Birds as Related to Hippocampal Size

54 17 Different Brain Regions Process Different Aspects of Memory Spatial memory and hippocampal size can change within the life span. In some species, there can be sex differences in spatial memory, depending on behavior. Polygynous male meadow voles travel further (to find females) and have a larger hippocampus than female meadow voles or males of monogamous pine voles.

55 Figure Sex, Memory, and Hippocampal Size

56 17 Different Brain Regions Process Different Aspects of Memory Imaging studies help to understand learning and nondeclarative memory for different skills: Sensorimotor skills, such as mirror-tracing. Perceptual skills—learning to read mirror- reversed text. Cognitive skills—planning and problem solving. All three of these depend on functional basal ganglia; the motor cortex and cerebellum are also important for some skills.

57 17 Different Brain Regions Process Different Aspects of Memory Imaging studies of repetition priming show reduced bilateral activity in the occipitotemporal cortex, related to perceptual priming. Perceptual priming reflects prior processing of the form of the stimulus. Conceptual priming (priming based on word meaning) is associated with reduced activation of the left frontal cortex.

58 17 Different Brain Regions Process Different Aspects of Memory Imaging of conditioned responses can show changes in activity. PET scans made during eye-blink tests show increased activity in several brain regions, but not all may be essential. Patients with unilateral cerebellar damage can acquire the conditioned eye-blink response only on the intact side.

59 17 Different Brain Regions Process Different Aspects of Memory Different brain regions are involved with different attributes of working memories such as space, time, or sensory perception. Memory tasks assess the contributions of each brain region.

60 17 Different Brain Regions Process Different Aspects of Memory The eight-arm radial maze is used to test spatial location memory. Rats must recognize and enter an arm that they have entered recently to receive a reward. Only lesions of the hippocampus produce a deficit in this predominantly spatial task.

61 Figure Tests of Specific Attributes of Memory (Part 1)

62 17 Different Brain Regions Process Different Aspects of Memory In a memory test of motor behavior, the animal must remember whether it made a left or right turn previously. If it turns the same way as before, it receives a reward. Only animals with lesions to the caudate nucleus showed deficits.

63 Figure Tests of Specific Attributes of Memory (Part 2)

64 17 Different Brain Regions Process Different Aspects of Memory Sensory perception can be measured by the object recognition task. Rats must identify which stimulus in a pair is novel. This task depends on the extrastriate cortex.

65 Figure Tests of Specific Attributes of Memory (Part 3)

66 17 Different Brain Regions Process Different Aspects of Memory Interim summary of brain regions involved in learning and memory: Many brain regions are involved. Different forms of memory are mediated by at least partly different mechanisms and brain structures. The same brain structure may be involved in many forms of learning.

67 Figure Brain Regions Involved in Different Kinds of Learning and Memory

68 17 Neural Mechanisms of Memory Storage Molecular, synaptic, and cellular events store information in the nervous system. New learning and memory formation can involve new neurons, new synapses, or changes in synapses in response to biochemical signals. Neuroplasticity (or neural plasticity) is the ability of neurons and neural circuits to be remodeled by experience or the environment.

69 17 Memory Storage Requires Neuronal Remodeling Sherrington speculated that alterations in synapses were the basis for learning. Synaptic changes can be measured physiologically, and may be presynaptic, postsynaptic, or both. Changes include increased neurotransmitter release and/or a greater effect due to changes in neurotransmitter- receptor interactions.

70 Figure Synaptic Changes That May Store Memories (Part 1)

71 17 Memory Storage Requires Neuronal Remodeling Changes in the rate of inactivation of transmitter would also increase effects. Inputs from other neurons might increase or decrease neurotransmitter release.

72 17 Memory Storage Requires Neuronal Remodeling Structural changes at the synapse may provide long-term storage. New synapses could form or some could be eliminated with training. Training might also lead to synaptic reorganization.

73 Figure Synaptic Changes That May Store Memories (Part 2)

74 Figure Synaptic Changes That May Store Memories (Part 3)

75 Figure Synaptic Changes That May Store Memories (Part 4)

76 17 Memory Storage Requires Neuronal Remodeling Lab animals living in a complex environment demonstrated biochemical and anatomical brain changes from those living in simpler environments. Three housing conditions: Standard condition (SC) Impoverished (or isolated) condition (IC) Enriched condition (EC)

77 Figure Experimental Environments to Test the Effects of Enrichment on Learning and Brain Measures

78 17 Memory Storage Requires Neuronal Remodeling Animals housed in EC, compared to those in IC, developed: heavier, thicker cortex; enhanced cholinergic activity; More dendritic branches (especially on basal dendrites near the cell body), with more dendritic spines suggesting more synapses.

79 Figure Measurement of Dendritic Branching (Part 1)

80 Figure Measurement of Dendritic Branching (Part 2)

81 Figure Measurement of Dendritic Branching (Part 3)

82 17 Invertebrate Nervous Systems Show Plasticity Aplysia is used to study plastic synaptic changes in neural circuits. The advantages of Aplysia: Has fewer nerve cells Can create detailed circuit maps for particular behaviors—little variation between individuals

83 17 Invertebrate Nervous Systems Show Plasticity Invertebrates demonstrate nonassociative learning which involves a single stimulus presented once or repeated. Three types of nonassociative learning: Habituation—a decreased response to repeated presentations of a stimulus. Dishabituation—restoration of response amplitude after habituation. Sensitization—prior strong stimulation increases response to most stimuli.

84 17 Invertebrate Nervous Systems Show Plasticity Habituation is studied in Aplysia. Squirts of water on its siphon causes it to retract its gill. After repeated squirts, the animal retracts the gills less; it has learned that the water poses no danger.

85 Figure The Sea Slug Aplysia

86 17 Invertebrate Nervous Systems Show Plasticity The habituation is caused by synaptic changes between the sensory cell in the siphon and the motoneuron that retracts the gill. Less transmitter released in the synapse results in less retraction.

87 Figure Synaptic Plasticity Underlying Habituation in Aplysia (Part 1)

88 17 Invertebrate Nervous Systems Show Plasticity Over several days, the animal habituates faster, representing long- term habituation. The number of synapses between the sensory cell and the motoneuron is reduced.

89 Figure Synaptic Plasticity Underlying Habituation in Aplysia (Part 2)

90 17 Synaptic Plasticity Can Be Measured in Simple Hippocampal Circuits Hebb proposed that when two neurons are repeatedly activated together, their synaptic connection will become stronger. Cell assemblies—ensembles of neurons— linked via Hebbian synapses could store memory traces. Hebb’s idea was supported when researchers used tetanus (a brief increase of electrical stimulation that triggers thousands of axon potentials) on the hippocampus.

91 17 Synaptic Plasticity Can Be Measured in Simple Hippocampal Circuits Long-term potentiation (LTP)—a stable and enduring increase in the effectiveness of synapses. A weakening of synaptic efficacy— termed long-term depression—can also encode information.

92 Figure Long-Term Potentiation Occurs in the Hippocampus (Part 1)

93 17 Synaptic Plasticity Can Be Measured in Simple Hippocampal Circuits Synapses in LTP behave like Hebbian synapses: Tetanus drives repeated firing. Postsynaptic targets fire repeatedly due to the stimulation. Synapses are stronger than before.

94 17 Synaptic Plasticity Can Be Measured in Simple Hippocampal Circuits LTP can be generated in conscious and freely behaving animals, in anesthetized animals, and in tissue slices and that LTP is evident in a variety of invertebrate and vertebrate species. LTP can also last for weeks or more. Superficially, LTP appears to have the hallmarks of a cellular mechanism of memory.

95 17 Synaptic Plasticity Can Be Measured in Simple Hippocampal Circuits LTP occurs at several sites in the hippocampal formation—formed by the hippocampus, the dentate gyrus and the subiculum (also called subicular complex or hippocampal gyrus). The hippocampus has regions called CA1, CA2, and CA3 (CA=Cornus Ammon which means Ammon’s Horn).

96 Figure Long-Term Potentiation Occurs in the Hippocampus (Part 2)

97 17 Synaptic Plasticity Can Be Measured in Simple Hippocampal Circuits The CA1 region has two kinds of glutamate receptors: NMDA receptors (after its selective ligand, N-methyl-D-aspartate) AMPA receptors (which bind the glutamate agonist AMPA)

98 17 Synaptic Plasticity Can Be Measured in Simple Hippocampal Circuits Glutamate first activates AMPA receptors. NMDA receptors do not respond until enough AMPA receptors are stimulated, and the neuron is partially depolarized.

99 17 Synaptic Plasticity Can Be Measured in Simple Hippocampal Circuits NMDA receptors at rest have a magnesium ion (Mg 2+ ) block on their calcium (Ca 2+ ) channels. After partial depolarization, the block is removed, and the NMDA receptor allows Ca 2+ to enter in response to glutamate.

100 Figure Roles of the NMDA and AMPA Receptors in the Induction of LTP in the CA1 Region (Part 1)

101 Figure Roles of the NMDA and AMPA Receptors in the Induction of LTP in the CA1 Region (Part 2)

102 17 Synaptic Plasticity Can Be Measured in Simple Hippocampal Circuits The large Ca 2+ influx activates certain protein kinases—enzymes that add phosphate groups to protein molecules. One protein kinase is CaMKII (calcium- calmodulin kinase II) which affects AMPA receptors in several ways: Causes more AMPA receptors to be produced and inserted in the postsynaptic membrane.

103 17 Synaptic Plasticity Can Be Measured in Simple Hippocampal Circuits CaMKII: Moves existing nearby AMPA receptors into the active synapse. Increases conductance of Na + and K + ions in membrane-bound AMPA receptors. These effects all increase the synaptic sensitivity to glutamate.

104 Figure Roles of the NMDA and AMPA Receptors in the Induction of LTP in the CA1 Region (Part 3)

105 17 Synaptic Plasticity Can Be Measured in Simple Hippocampal Circuits The activated protein kinases also trigger protein synthesis. Kinases activate CREB—cAMP responsive element-binding protein.

106 17 Synaptic Plasticity Can Be Measured in Simple Hippocampal Circuits CREB binds to cAMP responsive elements in DNA promoter regions. CREB changes the transcription rate of genes. The regulated genes then produce proteins that affect synaptic function and contribute to LTP.

107 Figure Steps in the Neurochemical Cascade during the Induction of LTP

108 17 Synaptic Plasticity Can Be Measured in Simple Hippocampal Circuits Strong stimulation of a postsynaptic cell releases a retrograde messenger, often a diffusible gas like carbon monoxide (CO) or nitric oxide (NO) or that travels across the synapse and alters function in the presynaptic neuron. More glutamate is released and the synapse is strengthened.

109 17 Synaptic Plasticity Can Be Measured in Simple Hippocampal Circuits LTP can occur without NMDA receptor activation. There is evidence that LTP may be one part of learning and memory formation: Correlational observations—time course of LTP is similar to that of memory formation.

110 17 Synaptic Plasticity Can Be Measured in Simple Hippocampal Circuits Somatic intervention experiments— pharmacological treatments that block LTP impair learning. Behavioral intervention experiments— training an animal in a memory task can induce LTP.

111 17 Some Simple Learning Relies on Circuits in the Mammalian Cerebellum Associative learning involves relations between events. In instrumental conditioning—or operant conditioning—an association is made between:  Behavior (the instrumental response).  The consequences of the behavior (the reward).

112 Figure Two Types of Conditioning (Part 1)

113 17 Some Simple Learning Relies on Circuits in the Mammalian Cerebellum In classical conditioning— Pavlovian conditioning—a neutral stimulus is paired with another stimulus that elicits a response. Eventually, the neutral stimulus by itself will elicit the response.

114 Figure Two Types of Conditioning (Part 2)

115 17 Some Simple Learning Relies on Circuits in the Mammalian Cerebellum Researchers use the eye-blink reflex to study neural circuits in mammals. An air puff is preceded by an acoustic tone; conditioned animals will blink when just the tone is heard. A circuit in the cerebellum is necessary for this reflex.

116 Figure Functioning of the Neural Circuit for Conditioning of the Eye-Blink Reflex (Part 1)

117 Figure Functioning of the Neural Circuit for Conditioning of the Eye-Blink Reflex (Part 2)

118 Figure Functioning of the Neural Circuit for Conditioning of the Eye-Blink Reflex (Part 3)

119 17 Some Simple Learning Relies on Circuits in the Mammalian Cerebellum The trigeminal (V) pathway that carries information about the corneal stimulation (the US) to the cranial motor nuclei also sends axons to the brainstem (specifically a structure called the inferior olive). These brainstem neurons, in turn, send axons called climbing fibers to synapse on cerebellar neurons in a region called the interpositus nucleus.

120 17 Some Simple Learning Relies on Circuits in the Mammalian Cerebellum Blocking GABA in interpositus nucleus stops the behavioral response. The cerebellum is also important in conditioning of emotions and cognitive learning, as shown by humans with cerebellar damage.

121 17 In the Adult Brain, Newly Born Neurons May Aid Learning Neurogenesis, or birth of new neurons, occurs mainly in the dentate gyrus in adult mammals. Neurogenesis and neuronal survival can be enhanced by exercise, environmental enrichment, and memory tasks. Reproductive hormones and experience are also an influence.

122 Figure Neurogenesis in the Dentate Gyrus

123 17 In the Adult Brain, Newly Born Neurons May Aid Learning In some studies, neurogenesis has been implicated in hippocampus- dependent learning. Conditional knockout mice, with neurogenesis selectively turned off in specific tissues in adults, showed impaired spatial learning but were otherwise normal.

124 17 In the Adult Brain, Newly Born Neurons May Aid Learning Genetic manipulations can increase the survival of newly generated neurons in the dentate, resulting in improved performance. These animals showed enhanced hippocampal LTP, which was expected since younger neurons display greater synaptic plasticity.

125 17 In the Adult Brain, Newly Born Neurons May Aid Learning Adult neurogenesis is also seen in the olfactory bulb. Activation of newly generated neurons in the olfactory bulb enhances olfactory learning and memory.

126 17 Learning and Memory Change as We Age With age, we tend to show some memory impairment in tasks of conscious recollection that: 1.require effort, and 2.rely primarily on internal generation of the memory rather than on external cues. We also experience some decreases in spatial memory and navigational skills.

127 17 Learning and Memory Change as We Age Some causes of memory problems in old age: Impairments of coding and retrieval— less cortical activation in some tasks. Loss of neurons and/or neural connections; some parts of the brain lose a larger proportion of volume.

128 Figure Active Brain Regions during Encoding and Retrieval Tasks in Young and Old People

129 17 Learning and Memory Change as We Age Deterioration of cholinergic pathways—the septal complex and the nucleus basalis of Meynert (NBM) provide cholinergic input to the hippocampus and cortex. Cholinergic pathways to the cortex are lost in Alzheimer’s disease. Enhancing cholinergic transmission helps with memory tasks.

130 17 Learning and Memory Change as We Age Nootropics are a class of drugs that enhance cognitive function. Cholinesterase inhibitors result can have a positive effect on memory and cognition. Ampakines, which act via glutamate receptors, work to improve LTP in the hippocampus.

131 17 Learning and Memory Change as We Age One particular protein kinase—PKMζ (ζ is zeta)—is needed for long-term maintenance of both hippocampal LTP and cortical memory traces. Highly selective memory enhancing drugs could be developed in the near future.

132 17 Learning and Memory Change as We Age Lifestyle factors can help reduce cognitive decline: Living in a favorable environment Involvement in complex and intellectually stimulating activities Having a partner of high cognitive status

133 17 The Cutting Edge: Artificial Activation of an Engram Mice were placed in two contexts: Context A—placed in a box with a white plastic floor in a dimly lit room with black walls and a faint smell of almonds; these mice explored the chamber and showed no signs of being afraid. Context B—classically conditioned to a tone with electrical shock; these mice learned to freeze to the tone.

134 17 The Cutting Edge: Artificial Activation of an Engram These mice had also been genetically modified so that whenever neurons in the dentate gyrus (DG) of the hippocampus were active, they would start producing channelrhodopsin, a protein that would excite those cells, and only those cells, when exposed to blue light.

135 Figure Artificial Activation of an Engram (Part 1)

136 17 The Cutting Edge: Artificial Activation of an Engram Activity of the subset of DG neurons with channelrhodopsin was responsible for the mice finding context B frightening. Reactivating those neurons caused the mice to freeze in fear, even when they were in a completely different context.

137 Figure Artificial Activation of an Engram (Part 2)

138 17 The Cutting Edge: Artificial Activation of an Engram Turning the light off again caused the animals to resume activity, indicating that they remained unafraid of context A. It wasn’t just that light-induced activation of any random set of DG neurons induced fear, because when blue light reactivated DG neurons that had been active in a third (nonfearful) context, C, the animals did not freeze.

139 Figure Artificial Activation of an Engram (Part 3)

140 Figure Artificial Activation of an Engram (Part 4)


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