Remember the last time you read an interesting article? Remember what it said or who it was written by? Nevertheless, the very fact that you made the effort to recall that memory itself triggered over a million processes at a scale of microseconds. All such processes form a minute part of a gargantuan system called memory consolidation or system consolidation.
Since this system resides within the brain’s hippocampus, over time it grew fairly relevant whether or not consolidation was a protein-synthesis-dependent process. Experimental evidence for the same first appeared at the beginning of the 1960s with the application of protein-synthesis inhibitors in both invertebrates, such as flies, earthworms and mollusks, as well as mammals, such as fish and birds.
The different species were subjected to various learning tasks followed by thorough investigation of any major deficit in consolidation. These early experiments marked a noble beginning to a variety of theses and publications that reproduced the initial findings.
It was also discovered that in spite of IAS, or Intense Aversive Stimulation, long-term memory is able to get consolidated. In recent times, MIT neuroscientists have revealed a cellular mechanism through which long-lasting memories can be integrated into specialised regions of the hippocampus, known specifically as CA3.
Upon investigating CA3 further, scientists at the University of California, Riverside, have also conceived a strategy to specifically delete specific dread recollections by debilitating the associations between the nerve cells (neurons) engaged with framing these recollections. A sight, sound, or smell we have detected may not later trigger dread, but rather if the upgrade is related with a horrible mishap, for example, a car crash, at that point fear memory is framed, and frightful reactions are activated by the boost.
To get by in a dynamic domain, creatures create fear reactions to perilous circumstances. Be that as it may, not all dread recollections, for example, those in PTSD, are valuable to our survival. For instance, while an amazingly dreadful reaction to seeing a helicopter is anything but a helpful one for a war veteran, a fast response to the sound of a shot is as yet alluring. For overcomers of vehicle mishaps, it would not be useful for them to remember the injury each time they sit in a vehicle.
Association with robust recollections also can render a weak memory stronger over time. For example, whereas folks might not bear in mind the name of the song that that they heard last month, they’d have recollections of the song they heard on holiday. Thus, it’s the association of a weak memory (hearing a song) with a powerful memory (one’s special holiday) that converts a memory to a memory. The ability to associate things and other people – the essence of social memory – depends on a posh cellular method.
These research initiatives have established deep theoretical and practical pillars upon which the foundation of memory can be grasped. While we may have a long way to go, it is an accolade in itself to understand the story of the most complex creatures that walk this planet—the story of us.