Comparing and Contrasting Subunits of Memory Storage
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The study of memory has two primary parts: the systems problem of memory and the molecular problem of memory. Along with these two parts, there are two subunits into which memory falls. Implicit memory is the motor and perceptual aspect of our memory while explicit memory is the recall of facts and events. In this lecture, the systems used for memory storage in these two subunits are explained and contrasted.
Implicit memory storage differs from explicit memory storage in the way that it occurs in reflex pathways and the cerebellum of organism rather than in a hippocampus and temporal lobe. It also is based on an unconscious recall versus a conscious recall process. Both implicit and explicit memory include short term and long term memory processes that use different mechanism in the way of proteins to synthesize learned habits into actual memory.
The California Apylsia’s simple nervous system makes studying implicit memory ideal. With only 20,000 neurons and the largest nerve cells in the animal kingdom, it is a first choice in studying how reflexes can be modified through different types of learning, one of which being sensitization. In an experiment, gill withdrawal response was measured by using a mild shock at the tail of the Apylsia. After multiple shocks, the gill withdrew for a longer period of time than it had at the initial shock, showing that long term and short-term memory play a role in implicit memory. These are caused when the shocks by the tool of choice create strong connections with the sensory neurons and motor neurons in the nervous system of the animal. These synaptic connections are better explained when looking at a molecular level as well.
Synaptic facilitation for short-term memory is due in part to...
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...f new synaptic connections, autistic individuals are unable to establish those pathways to carry out motor and perceptual tasks. Mildly related, in Alzheimer’s, the AB peptide is toxic to neurons in the cell, shutting down PKA activation increasing cyclic AMP breakdown, resulting in synaptic loss. Molecular biology has been able to use this knowledge to their advantage and create drugs that reverse this process. Rolipram, a drug used to treat Alzheimer’s lowers cAMP breakdown, causing a reactivation in PKA, reversing synaptic loss.
In all, understanding implicit and explicit memory processes give us the necessary tools to study the world of memory and how we might better advance in it. Insights into the molecular biology of memory storage have led to an improved understanding of memory disorders produced by brain diseases, and hopefully, to new and improved cures.