"Nobel of neuroscience" for the discoverers of how memory works

The functioning of memory, that is, how memory is formed or how memories are formed, deserves a prize: Brain Prize.

The winners of such an award, which is not officially a Nobel, but if it is known as Nobel Prize for Neuroscience There have been three professors of British origin, who have shared no more and no less than a million euros for their discoveries and findings in reference to the memory human.

The beginnings of all this date back to 1973, where Professor Bliss and his colleague Terje Lomo began to experiment with rabbits on their brain theories: There must be something that connected neurons apart from known synapses, but the formation of new connections was not feasible. However, reinforcing existing connections s.

The formation of memory, 100 years of mystery finally solved

TheGrete Lundbeck European Brain Research Prize, better known as Brain Prize or Nobel Prize for Neuroscience It has fallen into the hands of Tim Bliss, Graham Collingridge and Richard Morris, all three of British origin curiously. Between the three researchers they have managed to solve a mystery that surrounds the human brain since the year 1900, when the existence of the synapses or connections between neurons.

To form memory, there must be some change in those synapses, some reinforcement, but it was not known where such intensification of brain connections occurred. If we consider that the human brain has about 100 billion neurons, and each of these about 5,000 synapses or brain connections (500 trillion brain synapses in total), the search becomes heavy.

Advances how memory is formed, step by step

The first of them to begin studies in this regard was Professor Bliss, who together with his colleague Terje Lomo identified a set of synapses in a brain area called the hippocampus in rabbits, an area believed to be vital to memory. If electrical stimulation (long-term potentiation or LTP) was applied, this particular area seemed to reinforce its synapses. His discoveries came to light in 1973, where he first spoke of the brain plasticity in response to reinforcing an activity or experience. What we know today as memory.

Later, Professor Collingridge found the NMDA receptors, the proteins that were activated by this long-term stimulation or LTP, which induces our brain to form memories.

Finally, Professor Morris demonstrated that LTP in animals is important for learning and memory. He treated rats with a medication that blocked the normal process of long-term memory enhancement, resulting in the rats' learning disabilities.

Brain Prize winners and advances against Alzheimer's

Unfortunately, Morris says, the work of the three researchers has failed to curb severe Alzheimer's disease. Still, they believe that their discoveries may have aided in the future creation of medications to fix memory loss during the early stages of the disease.

As a curiosity, when Professor Bliss was asked what his prize share was going to be spent on, he seems to have some good investment ideas:

I think I would buy an electric car with part of the prize. With the rest, I have no idea what to do

Going | The Independent.

Source | Brain Prize.