Hopes have been raised in the treatment of Amnesia, after scientists were able to retrieve memory lost in mice using light. The findings will help in the understanding of the condition and will assist in its treatment.
According to the results of the study however, the mice still had the memory stored in their brain. The only problem was that they were having trouble retrieving it.
To restore the memory, the researchers used a technique referred to as optogenetics. Using just light, the memory lost was able to be retrieved by activating some of the brain’s nerve cells.
Though most scientists have been supporting the storage theory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Susumu Tonegawa insists that they have been wrong all along. He explains that when Amnesia strikes after injuries or diseases such as Alzheimer’s, damage is caused to the brain cells that are associated with memory retrieval and not those involved with its storage.
When memory is stored in the brain, new connections between the brain’s nerve cells are built. Memory retrieval on the other hand, has to do with the strengthening of such connections. When injuries or diseases occur, damage caused in the brain blocks the strengthening of these connections.