Learning and memory are important in our daily lives, whether that is remembering how to make dinner or write a report for work. When you study for a course, prepare to make use of what you’ve learned, take a test or complete an assignment, what exactly is going on in your brain? Which parts of the brain are involved, and how do they interact with each other? As time goes by, the learning and memories that you have acquired change in how they are stored and retrieved. Most of the time, this is beneficial, as you can add to things you already know. However, this can also be problematic, as in the case of traumatic memories. Researchers are expanding our understanding of how memory works, how we might improve it, and how we might erase memory. As an example of how relevant these questions are, Eric Kandel was awarded the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work to understand the biological basis of memory.
Memory can be divided, roughly, into working memory, formerly known as short-term memory, and long-term memory. On the biological level, there is a model of how learning changes the synapses of individual neurons. In this Assignment, you will first describe that model, known as long-term potentiation (LTP). You will then identify a recent peer-reviewed article (published within the past 5 years) from the Walden library that extends this understanding of the cellular basis of memory. Areas to consider include revisions to the LTP model, the basis of long-term memory, ways to improve memory, or ways to erase memory.
To prepare for this Assignment:
Review the Learning Resources focusing on learning and memory paying special attention to how brain cells change when learning takes place.
Choose ONE of these article options on the topic cellular basis of memory:
ARTICLE – “The Role of Hippocampal Structural Synaptic Plasticity in Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation to Improve Cognitive Function in Male SAMP8 Mice”
The Assignment (2–4 pages):
First, consider the cellular basis of long-term potentiation (LTP). Where in the brain does this occur and what happens? In your answer, include details of the neurotransmitters and receptors involved as well as what happens at the level of the receptor to enable LTP. Also, describe the changes that occur in both the presynaptic and post-synaptic cells as a result of LTP.
Summarize your article about the cellular basis of memory in enough detail that your reader will understand what was done in the study and what the results of the study were (similar to the articles you found in BioPsychology.com in the first week).
Evaluate how the findings might apply to a clinical setting, such as Alzheimer’s disease, anterograde or retrograde amnesia, or a condition such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Additional reading –
Animals think, therefore. (2015). Economist, 417(8969), 69–74.
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