Reviving Lost Childhood Memories With Light

Reviving Lost Childhood Memories With Light

It seems that what we once believed was lost can eventually be restored – This is the case for our long-forgotten memories since childhood. Check out the latest reports below.

Lost childhood memories

A study from Trinity College Dublin suggests that infantile amnesia, the most common form of forgetting, could be prevented and reversed with light. The study’s senior author, Tomas Ryan, says that this could offer valuable insights into the biology of memory and forgetting.

A recent study, published on November 8 in the journal Science Advances, explored the molecular mechanisms behind early life memory loss in mice.

The research team induced inflammation in pregnant mice, resulting in newborns with altered brain development that were protected from early-life memory loss.

These findings suggest that autism-like brain states can help safeguard against childhood amnesia in mice, and may shed light on the role of inflammatory responses during pregnancy in the development of autism in both mice and humans.

“We have found, for the first time, that in mouse models of autism, infantile amnesia does not happen,” Ryan said. “The [autism-induced] mice retain infant memories into later life, for a range of behavioral experiences. Future work will determine whether this is also the case in humans.”

According to a recent study, researchers have discovered that early life memories, also known as “engrams,” can be reactivated using light, even in mice without autism-like brain conditions.

The study also revealed that infant engrams are not lost but remain in the brain in a dormant state until adulthood. Stimulating neurons in the infant engrams of adult mice using light resulted in the retrieval of the target memories.

Although it is still unclear how applicable these findings are to humans, this study is a significant step forward in our understanding of the biology of forgetting.

“Different developmental brain states seem to result in altered rates of forgetting, which sheds light into the basic biology of forgetting and memory expression,” Ryan said.

The notes continued and said this:

“Our hope is that these findings will be useful not only for understanding basic questions of memory encoding and expression in everyday life, but also may be valuable for understanding what is happening in pathological forgetting such as Alzheimer’s disease.”

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