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Optogenetics Might Help Memory Loss

Brain
(Dr. Brian McDonough) Dr. Brian McDonough
Dr. Brian McDonough has been medical editor at KYW Newsradio for more...
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By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - How do we make memories? In other words what does our brain do to generate a memory of a special event or even an unimportant event and why do these memories last for years?

A report in the journal Nature takes a look at this. By studying rats they are trying to find these answers.

Memories are thought to be formed and stored in specific populations of neurons in the brain. Don’t ask me how but the scientists were able to develop a way where the nerve cells related to memory could be stimulated by bright light.

Using a technique called optogenetics – the control of genetically modified brain cells using light – they might figure out ways to stimulate lost memory.