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Mind Matters News: Our brains break DNA in order to learn more quickly

MIT News: Neurons and other brain cells snap open their DNA in numerous locations — more than previously realized, according to a new study — to provide quick access to genetic instructions for the mechanisms of memory storage. – David Orenstein, “Memory-making Involves Extensive DNA Breaking” at Mit News (July 14, 2021) Read More ›

Do female rats depend in part on their uterus for memory?

That’s the surprising conclusion of a recent study that required rats who had had their ovaries or their uterus removed or both and then had to negotiate a water maze six weeks later: As compared with the other rats, animals who had only their uterus removed struggled more as the test became increasingly difficult. The scientists also observed differences in the hormone levels of these rats. Overall, the study suggests that signals from the uterus—and not the ovaries, which are better known for their hormone production—influence brain function. Carolyn Wilke, “Rat Study Points to Role of Uterus in Memory” at The Scientist Memory may be more complex than we think. Follow UD News at Twitter! See also: Food, sex, and Read More ›

Epigenetics is involved in strengthening memory

From ScienceDaily: Two broad findings have been seen in memory reconsolidation, which is the retrieval and strengthening of a recent memory. The first broad finding is that, during memory reconsolidation, changes in translational control — the process of forming new proteins from activated genes — occur in areas of the brain related to memory formation. The second broad finding is that epigenetic mechanisms — various molecular modifications known to alter the activity of genes without changing their DNA sequence — are also somehow actively involved during memory reconsolidation or strengthening. Now, researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have described a novel mechanism that links epigenetic change to translational control. In the Journal of Neuroscience, they report how several Read More ›