A Special Place for Blog Lovers with a Touch of Science!

Enjoy our special posts in the fields of Earth & Planetary Sciences (EPS Blog) and Social Sciences & Arts (SSA Blog)

A Special Place for Blog Lovers with a Touch of Science!

Thoughts to reflect on: Cortázar

Credit: GettyImages

Julio Cortázar

1. "But what is memory if not the language of feeling, a dictionary of faces and days and smells which repeat themselves like the verbs and adjectives in a speech, sneaking in behind the thing itself,into the pure present, making us sad or teaching us vicariously..."

2. "I sometimes longed for someone who, like me, had not adjusted perfectly with his age, and such a person was hard to find; but I soon discovered cats, in which I could imagine a condition like mine, and books, where I found it quite often."

3. "Memory is a mirror that scandalously lies."

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How sleep builds relational memory

Credit: Gettyimages

Making connections requires brain circuits to be active and interact during sleep

Relational memory is the ability to remember arbitrary or indirect associations between objects, places, people or events -- such as names and faces.

Previous research has established that animal and human memory benefits from quality sleep. In a new U.S. National Science Foundation-supported study published in The Journal of Neuroscience, Maxim Bazhenov and Timothy Tadros of the University of California San Diego

School of Medicine developed a modeling approach that may explain the underlying mechanisms that strengthen or create new relational memories during sleep.

"This new computational research provides insights into the importance of sleep for the consolidation of memory," said NSF program director Jonathan Fritz.

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Triggering original fear memories could treat phobias and PTSD

20220120-074119islander-images-vde6pq8bed4-unsplash_0 By triggering original fear memories, a researcher hopes to weaken them to help treat phobias. Image credit - Islander Images/Unsplash

By triggering original fear memories, a researcher hopes to weaken them to help treat phobias. Image credit - Islander Images/Unsplash  

New approach towards fear treatment

In a lab in Amsterdam, arachnophobes have volunteered to encounter their eight-legged nemeses to help researchers hoping to conjure and obliterate fear memories. These studies, as well as a new understanding of overlooked brain regions, are revealing how fears linked to PTSD or phobias work, and how they may be treated.

In upcoming clinical trials, Professor Merel Kindt at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, plans to expose volunteers to fleet-footed spiders and tarantulas to provoke their fear memory. Afterwards, they will receive an approved drug to try to thwart their spider fears. She believes that her 'recall and erase' strategy can be used to treat all sorts of phobias, but also life-changing clinical conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

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