Navigation Links
New research shows why too much memory may be a bad thing

New research from Columbia University Medical Center may explain why people who are able to easily and accurately recall historical dates or long-ago events, may have a harder time with word recall or remembering the day’s current events. They may have too much memory ?making it harder to filter out information and increasing the time it takes for new short-term memories to be processed and stored.

Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (March 13, 2007 issue), the research reinforces the old adage that too much of anything ?even something good for you ?can actually be detrimental. In this case, the good thing is the growth of new neurons, a process called neurogenesis, in the hippocampus, the region of the brain responsible for learning and memory.

Results of the study, conducted with mice, found that the absence of neurogenesis in the hippocampus improves working memory, a specific form of short-term memory that relates to the ability to store task-specific information for a limited timeframe, e.g., where your car is parked in a huge mall lot or remembering a phone number for few seconds before writing it down. Because working memory is highly sensitive to interference from information previously stored in memory, forgetting such information may therefore be necessary for performing everyday working memory tasks, such as balancing your check book or decision making.

"We were surprised to find that halting neurogenesis caused an improvement of working memory, which suggests that too much memory is not always a good thing, and that forgetting is important for normal cognition and behavior," said Gaël Malleret, Ph.D., a research scientist at the Center for Neurobiology and Behavior at Columbia University Medical Center and the paper’s co-first author. "Altogether, our findings suggest that new neurons in the hippocampus have different, and in some cases, opposite roles in distinct types of memory storage, and that e xcess neurogenesis can be detrimental to some memory processes."

"We believe these findings have important implications for diverse disciplines ranging from medicine to artificial intelligence," said Dr. Malleret. "In medicine, these findings have significant implications for possible therapeutic interventions to improve memory ?a careful balance of neurogenesis would need to be struck to improve memory without overwhelming it with too much activity."

Many scientists had believed that neurogenesis in the hippocampus, and specifically, the dentate gyrus region, was wholly beneficial to memory. Previous research by Dr. Malleret with co-first author Michael D. Saxe, Ph.D., who was at Columbia when the research took place and is now at the Salk Institute in San Diego, Calif., found that reducing neurogenesis causes long-term memory deficits.

Based on this research, Drs. Malleret and Saxe hypothesized that the growth of too many new neurons could actually be more harmful than helpful to working memory. To examine this hypothesis, they designed working memory tests for two independent groups of mice in which neurogenesis in the hippocampus regions was suppressed. Results of the tests, in which mice had to locate food within specific areas of a maze, showed that mice in which neurogenesis had been halted made more correct choices and found the food faster.

"In our world, we are constantly bombarded by new information so we are constantly filtering –and if we did not do this, we would be overwhelmed," said Dr. Malleret. "Our research indicates that those with better working memory may have fewer new neurons being developed in their hippocampus, which helps them forget old and useless information sooner and enable them to take in new information faster."
'"/>

Source:Columbia University Medical Center


Related biology news :

1. Columbia research lifts major hurdle to gene therapy for cancer
2. U of M researcher examines newly emerging deadly disease
3. NYU researchers simulate molecular biological clock
4. First atlas of key brain genes could speed research on cancer, neurological diseases
5. New research questions basic tenet of neuron function
6. Vital step in cellular migration described by UCSD medical researchers
7. ASU researchers finds novel chemistry at work to provide parrots vibrant red colors
8. UCSD researchers maintain stem cells without contaminated animal feeder layers
9. Why do insects stop breathing? To avoid damage from too much oxygen, say researchers
10. New protein discovered by Hebrew University researchers
11. First real-time view of developing neurons reveals surprises, say Stanford researchers

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:1/4/2017)... -- For the thousands of attendees at this year,s International Consumer Electronics Show ... biometric measurement devices and services, will be featuring its new line of ... Medical,s special CES Exhibit Suite , the new upper arm and ... WellnessConnected product platform.  Continue ... ...
(Date:12/22/2016)... , Dec. 20, 2016  As part of its longstanding ... leading personal genetics company, recently released its latest children,s book, ... The book focuses on the topics of inheritance and variation ... Standards (NGSS) taught in elementary school classrooms in the US. ... series by illustrator Ariana Killoran , whose previous book ...
(Date:12/20/2016)... and GENEVA, Dec, 20, 2016   ... data sensor technology, and STMicroelectronics (NYSE: ... spectrum of electronics applications, announced today the launch ... kit for biometric wearables that includes ST,s compact ... Valencell,s Benchmark™ biometric sensor system. Together, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/19/2017)... N.J. , Jan. 18, 2017 BD (Becton, Dickinson ... company, announced today that it will host a live webcast of ... 1 p.m. (ET). The webcast can be accessed ... available for replay through Tuesday, January 31, 2017. ... About BD BD is ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... , Jan. 18, 2017 Applied ... mechanistic modeling to drug research and development, today ... Co-Founder, President, and CEO of Applied BioMath, will ... Informatics and Modeling (BAGIM) Meeting on Thursday January ... Cambridge , MA.   Dr. Burke,s talk ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... ... January 18, 2017 , ... Whitehouse Labs ... Within Albany Molecular Research, Inc. (AMRI), the scientific staff dedicated to Extractables / ... planned for further growth in 2017. Extractable & Leachable evaluations have become increasingly ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... OF PRUSSIA, PA (PRWEB) , ... January 18, ... ... disrupt clinical operations again at the CHI SCOPE Summit for Clinical Ops Executives ... AstraZeneca in engaging panel discussions to examine vital clinical research issues such as ...
Breaking Biology Technology: