A NEW VIEW ON MEMORY TO REMEMBER

November 2, 2022 · Posted in Uncategorized 

Steven Ramirez PhD of Boston University gave a talk (8/9/22) on memory for the BBRF hosted by Jeffrey Borenstein President & CEO of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation.  Ramirez showed that positive (food) and negative (shock) memories of different places were stored in different neurons of the hippocampus.  If he turned on the positive memories with optical stimulation while a mouse was in a negative memory place and would ordinarily show freezing representing fear behavior, much less freezing occurred with the insertion of the positive memory. Positive memories appear to trump negative memories.

      Ramirez found score of genes were activated or turned off in the positive memory cells, some of which, but not all, overlapped with the negative memory cells.  Remarkably, the bulk of the unique positive memory genes were related to synaptogenesis and neuroprotection, while the bulk of genes unique to the negative memory cells were related cell death and other toxic factors.  Ramirez hopes these data will provide clues to not only helping people with PTSD, but also ultimately providing targets for providing protection against degenerative diseases.

   When Ramirez was asked by Borenstein what people could do now, he related his own experience of every morning filling out a form for gratitude and gratefulness for at least 3 things he could be grateful for the previous day or anticipated for the current day. The positive memories that this invoked in him set up his positive and optimistic attitudes for the rest of the day.  He recommends this approach of positive memories modulating the current pervasive stressors of the day.  For people interested in the details of his experiments summarized above, they should look for the in press articles of Grella et al Nature Communications and Shpokayte et al Nature Communications.

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