1. Joined
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    14 Jun '17 21:39
    http://rdcu.be/tta2

    What are the molecular underpinnings of memory storage? It makes sense that long term memories could be stored within subnuclear DNA modifications. This article makes it clear that we have no idea what transcriptional changes in individual neurons may provide the memory "code". The working code for recalling memories must be somehow presentable outside the nucleus within synapses of neurons though, or unique combinations of synaptic connections, otherwise memory recall would take too long. Once a memory is accessed, its still a long long chain of events between that and forming a thought, discerning between options, making a decision, and the follow through.

    Very cool stuff. Kind of crazy to imagine your brain going through these elaborate motions storing useless information like "what the weather did yesterday" and "the dubious philosophical assumptions questioning the existence of free will" yet at the same time forgetting your neighbor's name for the 7th time.
  2. Joined
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    15 Jun '17 07:06
    Originally posted by wildgrass
    http://rdcu.be/tta2

    What are the molecular underpinnings of memory storage? It makes sense that long term memories could be stored within subnuclear DNA modifications. This article makes it clear that we have no idea what transcriptional changes in individual neurons may provide the memory "code". The working code for recalling memories must be somehow ...[text shortened]... e existence of free will" yet at the same time forgetting your neighbor's name for the 7th time.
    So if I learn 3.14159 then it is encoded in some DNA structure?
    Meaning that my yet unborn child will know this too?

    If I recollect 3.14159 then much biochemistry is involved until a thought is formed. Is 'thought' really a well-defined scientific concept?
  3. Joined
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    15 Jun '17 07:146 edits
    Originally posted by FabianFnas
    So if I learn 3.14159 then it is encoded in some DNA structure?
    Meaning that my yet unborn child will know this too?

    No because what they are saying is that only specific memory neurons in the brain get DNA encoding to represent memory info, NOT egg and sperm cells!
    + somehow, I don't think it likely that the specific number 3.14159 would be directly coded into a particular memory neuron; surely it wouldn't work in that simplistic way. The info encoded in each memory cell would be much more subtle than that and represent exactly how it should fire in response to exactly what signals it receives thus it would surely be difficult to directly relate that to something like the specific number 3.14159 !
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    15 Jun '17 07:28
    Originally posted by humy
    No because what they are saying is that only specific memory neurons in the brain get DNA encoding to represent memory info, NOT egg and sperm cells!
    + somehow, I don't think it likely that the specific number 3.14159 would be directly coded into a particular memory neuron; surely it wouldn't work in that simplistic way. The info encoded in each memory cell would be mush more subtle than that.
    So information is coded locally in individual braincells DNA containing things we remember? In a combination of the four ACTG aminoacids?
  5. Joined
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    15 Jun '17 07:345 edits
    Originally posted by FabianFnas
    So information is coded locally in individual braincells DNA containing things we remember?
    yes; they are suggesting that is at least sometimes how memory works.
    In a combination of the four ACTG aminoacids?

    To be honest, I haven't bothered to work out what they are saying about the exact molecular mechanisms behind it so, not sure exactly how they think that may exactly work.
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    15 Jun '17 08:021 edit
    Originally posted by FabianFnas
    So information is coded locally in individual braincells DNA containing things we remember? In a combination of the four ACTG aminoacids?
    No.
    There is a lot more to DNA than the order of the base pairs. It is changes to the higher order structure that they are discussing which affects the expression of genes and other processes.
    From a memory retention point of view, we really want to know whether these changes are analog or digital and whether they are simply feeding into other mechanisms where the real storage is taking place (so producing more of a given protein needed for memory retention) or are they the actual site of permanent change that stores the memory.
  7. Cape Town
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    15 Jun '17 08:16
    Originally posted by wildgrass
    What are the molecular underpinnings of memory storage? It makes sense that long term memories could be stored within subnuclear DNA modifications. This article makes it clear that we have no idea what transcriptional changes in individual neurons may provide the memory "code".
    Once again you are confusing different levels of complexity. Although there is nothing wrong with studying the electrical properties of various types of transistors and maybe even go deeper and ask about the chemical structure of silicon, this is almost unrelated to the question of how a computer does calculations.
    From a high level perspective we really want to know whether an individual neuron stores more than one bit of information and whether it is binary, digital or analog in nature. We also want to know what role connections play in both memory retention and processing. What chemical processes are involved, though extremely interesting in its own right, is almost a separate topic. There is some overlap because of the fact that faults in the chemical processes can affect the higher level functions, just as overheating your CPU can result in logical errors. But your post seems to be equivalent to saying you have just discovered that RAM in your computer stores numbers using electrons and the study of the physics of electrons at CERN may enlighten us about how memory is stored.
  8. Joined
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    15 Jun '17 09:10
    Originally posted by humy
    yes; they are suggesting that is at least sometimes how memory works.
    In a combination of the four ACTG aminoacids?

    To be honest, I haven't bothered to work out what they are saying about the exact molecular mechanisms behind it so, not sure exactly how they say that exactly works.
    This is just food for thoughts. I don't think there are any well established truths here.

    I wonder how 3.14159 is stored in DNA. Probably in a network of cells, interconnected in some way.

    I wonder if there is any check for errors in the codings. Like parity check or something. Or perhaps is the errors a source for new thoughts, intuition and revised memories and is good for the thinking process?
  9. Cape Town
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    15 Jun '17 10:23
    Originally posted by FabianFnas
    This is just food for thoughts. I don't think there are any well established truths here.

    I wonder how 3.14159 is stored in DNA. Probably in a network of cells, interconnected in some way.

    I wonder if there is any check for errors in the codings. Like parity check or something. Or perhaps is the errors a source for new thoughts, intuition and revised memories and is good for the thinking process?
    As I say above, mixing levels of complexity just leads to confusion.
    At the level of 'parity checking' the exact chemical mechanisms involved are largely irrelevant, just as electron charges are largely irrelevant to how a CPU works.
    So yes, PI is stored in cells, but what matters at that level is merely how many cells / connections it is stored it and the logical storage mechanisms. The chemicals involved don't really matter.
    As to your actual question, the brain uses sparse coding which is highly robust in terms of errors and is also good for parallel processing. It is also a good mechanism for pattern recognition and storage. Our brains are very very good at pattern recognition, processing and efficient storage of the same.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neural_coding#Sparse_coding
  10. Joined
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    15 Jun '17 13:11
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Once again you are confusing different levels of complexity. Although there is nothing wrong with studying the electrical properties of various types of transistors and maybe even go deeper and ask about the chemical structure of silicon, this is almost unrelated to the question of how a computer does calculations.
    I am confusing things? I made no mention of electrons, chemicals, transistors or computers in my post.

    What are the molecular underpinnings of memory? If the computer wasn't invented, but rather evolved, and just showed up on your doorstep, wouldn't you want to know how it works? You're glossing over the entire purpose of basic science.
  11. Joined
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    15 Jun '17 13:281 edit
    Originally posted by FabianFnas
    This is just food for thoughts. I don't think there are any well established truths here.

    I wonder how 3.14159 is stored in DNA. Probably in a network of cells, interconnected in some way.

    I wonder if there is any check for errors in the codings. Like parity check or something. Or perhaps is the errors a source for new thoughts, intuition and revised memories and is good for the thinking process?
    Yeah I think that's true. Some folks seem to think that there are functionally redundant circuits that control a single memory, such that the same memory is probably stored in multiple circuits. Also, there are distinct mechanisms and storage locations for long-term vs. short-term memory (as evidenced by the fact that some people can't store short term memories).

    The discoveries emerging from this study and others suggest that the nuclear architecture may be the source of memory storage. This was hypothesized by Francis Crick but never proven. The way DNA is organized permits some areas of the genome to be transcribed, while others are repressed. If you're comparing a neuron to a skin cell, for example, the DNA is the same but the function differs dramatically. The difference lies in the organization within the nucleus that permits neural gene expression and represses others.

    More specifically, individual neurons also differ from each other in this regard. Some genes are expressed higher than others. maybe one cell expresses 10 transcripts per cell and another expresses 100 transcripts per cell. Then the transcript is processed. This can result in different splice variants. Then the protein is produced, modified, and transported. Then it is degraded. All of these mechanisms can be ramped up or down, but the half life of proteins is much shorter than memory retention.

    In terms of revised memories, I think it is well established that memories change over time. Each time a memory is accessed, it is edited.
  12. Joined
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    15 Jun '17 13:411 edit
    Originally posted by FabianFnas
    Meaning that my yet unborn child will know this too?
    There is actually a very interesting study on this topic I am recalling from memory. They took inbred mice and exposed half of them to thought-stimulating objects (colors, shapes etc.). This is known to increase intelligence by basic measures like learning a maze. But then they bred the mice and looked at their offspring. Amazingly, the offspring of the stimulated mice were smarter than control mice. The actual memories are gone (of course) but the intelligence was passed on through an epigenetic mechanism.
  13. Cape Town
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    15 Jun '17 14:28
    Originally posted by wildgrass
    I am confusing things? I made no mention of electrons, chemicals, transistors or computers in my post.
    So you struggle with analogies as well as basic logic I see.

    What are the molecular underpinnings of memory? If the computer wasn't invented, but rather evolved, and just showed up on your doorstep, wouldn't you want to know how it works?
    Of course.

    You're glossing over the entire purpose of basic science.
    No, I am just pointing out how ridiculous this sounds:
    Is this how JavaScript works? Scientists discover new ways to store JavaScript code on hard discs:

    https://www.pctechguide.com/hard-disks/hard-disk-gmr-technology
    Giant Magneto-Resistive (GMR) head technology builds on existing read/write technology found in TFI and anisotropic MR, producing heads that exhibit a higher sensitivity to changing magnetisation on the disc and work on spin-dependent electron scattering.
  14. Cape Town
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    15 Jun '17 14:361 edit
    Originally posted by wildgrass
    There is actually a very interesting study on this topic I am recalling from memory. They took inbred mice and exposed half of them to thought-stimulating objects (colors, shapes etc.). This is known to increase intelligence by basic measures like learning a maze. But then they bred the mice and looked at their offspring. Amazingly, the offspring of the st ...[text shortened]... emories are gone (of course) but the intelligence was passed on through an epigenetic mechanism.
    Almost certainly absolute nonsense given that the cells involved in reproduction are nowhere near the brain. You would need to have a mechanism where 'intelligence' is somehow passed on the the foetus via the placenta. Now there is a very small chance that thought stimulated mice produce more of certain hormones that stimulate brain cell development and that this stimulated the brains in their developing offspring, but I would want to see the study details before accepting that explanation over the more likely poor experimental methodology.
    But to suggest that this has anything whatsoever to do with memories being stored is definitely nonsense.
  15. Joined
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    15 Jun '17 15:27
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Almost certainly absolute nonsense given that the cells involved in reproduction are nowhere near the brain. You would need to have a mechanism where 'intelligence' is somehow passed on the the foetus via the placenta. Now there is a very small chance that thought stimulated mice produce more of certain hormones that stimulate brain cell development and t ...[text shortened]... ggest that this has anything whatsoever to do with memories being stored is definitely nonsense.
    Here you go: http://www.jneurosci.org/content/29/5/1496.long

    Lots of talk about memory formation here, and the methods seem well-established and controlled. They suggest a mechanism related to an augmented transgenerational cell signaling cascade.

    Something poorly understood is not necessarily nonsense.
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