Using sea slugs as models, scientists someday may be able to design learning protocols that improve long-term memory formation in humans, a new study suggests.
The researchers used information about biochemical pathways in the brain of the sea slug Aplysia to design a computer model that identified the times when the mollusk’s brain is primed for learning. They tested the model by submitting the animals to a series of training sessions, involving electric shocks, and found that Aplysia experienced a significant increase in memory formation when the sessions were conducted during the peak periods predicted by the model.
The proof-of-principle study may someday help scientists discover ways to improve human memory, the researchers said.
“This is very impressive,” David Glanzman, a neurobiologist at the University of California Los Angeles, said of the study, in which he was not involved. “If someone had asked me ahead of time, ‘Are you going to be able to improve learning if you model these two pathways?’ I would have predicted no.”
Yes, I’m reblogging mostly for the picture, though the article is interesting to. I love nudibrachs (a name that sounds so much better than “sea slugs”,) but mostly I’m curious to know what those lovely little round blue things are.
Have you ever wondered why we see in color? As sensory information goes, we could have just as easily developed countless other ways of interpreting our visual inputs, like the very limited color senses of dogs, or the thermal imaging of the Predator.
Neuroscientist Mark Changizi thinks that humans developed our detailed color vision as a way to read subtle changes in other people.
For instance, minute color changes such as flushed skin on your face can reveal a multitude of information about what’s happening in your brain. In a time before speech communication, this could have been a crucial way to signal the health and emotional state of fellow humans.
I don’t know. Wouldn’t this only hold true of only light-skinned, color-changing people saw in color? As it is, even the darkest skinned people living among the darkest skinned, non (visibly) color-changing people, from whom all people are said to have come from, see in color. So, not being a scientist or geneticist, even on Tumblr, I have no idea… but just from observation it doesn’t seem as if this thing has much basis.