LA JOLLA, CA—"Remember when…?" is how many a wistful trip down memory lane begins. But just how the brain keeps tabs on what happened and when is still a matter of speculation. A computational model developed by scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies now suggests that newborn brain cells—generated by the thousands each day—add a time-related code, which is unique to memories formed around the same time.
"By labeling contemporary events as similar, new neurons allow us to recall events from a certain period," speculates Fred H. Gage, Ph.D., a professor in the Laboratory for Genetics, who led the study published in the Jan. 29, 2009, issue of the journal Neuron. Unlike the kind of time stamp found on digital photographs, however, the neuronal time code only provides relative time.
Lots of relative and absolute timestamps get used inside software. Incoming packets from a communications bus get timestamped as they come into a box. I write code that does this sort of thing. If neurons turn out to do the same thing this'll be very interesting. There's nothing new under the sun and all that.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2009 January 28 10:05 PM Brain Memory|