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Neuroscientist & Author

Posts Tagged ‘memory’

Making Long-term Memories Depends on Making Myelin and Brainwaves

Neuroscientists have always presumed that learning and memory depend on strengthening or weakening the connection points between neurons (synapses), increasing or decreasing the likelihood that the cell is going to pass along a message to its neighbor. But recently some researchers have started pursuing a completely different theory that does not involve changing the strength of synaptic…

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Gamma Waves in the Brain–Fumes or Fundamental?

SAN DIEGO—The most fundamental question of how information is coded and processed in the brain is being re-examined, and the controversy drew an overflow crowd of neuroscientists to participate in an intense debate at the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting in San Diego. The textbook explanation that information is coded digitally by the firing rate…

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Brian Williams ‘False Memory’–a Neuroscience Perspective

NBC News anchor Brian Williams apologized for his erroneous account of being aboard a helicopter forced to make an emergency landing after being hit by enemy fire while reporting on the Iraq war in 2003. Williams blames the fallibility of human recall for the error. How can the neuroscience of memory (and false memory) provide…

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How is the brain like a guitar? Hint: It is all about rhythm

Typically we are introduced to the nervous system by analogy to an electrical circuit, like a door bell or a telephone line carrying a signal rapidly over long distance to activate a specific process. Never mind that electrical impulses are not transmitted through nerve axons anything like electrons flowing through a copper wire, this electronic…

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The Brain’s White Matter–Learning beyond Synapses

Recently scientists have been exploring part of the brain that has been relatively unexplored in learning–white matter, comprising half of the human brain. Here new research is detecting cellular changes during learning that are entirely different from the synaptic changes between neurons in gray matter. A new study shows that learning a new motor skill…

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Brain Cells that Communicate without Electricity: Calcium Waves in Glia

 Glia are brain cells that cannot generate electrical impulses.  As a consequence glia were thought to have no function in information processing or transmission.  In fact glia were communicating with themselves and with neurons all along, but without using electricity.  For a century neuroscientists were deaf to glial communication as they passionately studied neurons, because…

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