Memory again

From: Vincent Campbell (
Date: Tue Feb 19 2002 - 11:34:30 GMT

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    Subject: Memory again
    Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2002 11:34:30 -0000
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    Saturday, 16 February, 2002, 20:06 GMT
    'How memories are formed' By BBC News Online's Caroline Ryan in Boston
    The different ways the brain works when it stores memories have been caught
    on camera. Using modern brain imaging techniques, scientists have recorded the patterns
    in activity that change depending on whether memories are going to be stored
    or deleted. The study was done by a team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    (MIT) and reported to the American Association for the Advancement of
    Science annual meeting, which this year is in Boston. The researchers identified a number of different brain parts involved in the
    very complex process of creating and storing memories. Future tests In their tests, healthy men and women were shown a list of words or pictures
    while they were scanned using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI),
    which recorded activity in the brain. They were then given a surprise quiz 20 minutes later to see what they
    remembered. Researchers could then match the brain patterns to the stored
    memories. Professor Anthony Wagner, who led the research team, said: "Using this brain
    imaging technique allowed us to characterise the human brain while it was in
    the process of building new memories." In addition to telling scientists more about how memory works, the technique
    could also one day be used to identify early signs of conditions such as
    Alzheimer's disease, where the brain's memory circuits stop working
    effectively. Professor Wagner said: "We can then use that exact same technology and look
    for changes in these circuits in individuals who haven't been clinically
    diagnosed as having Alzheimer's disease, but you'd like to catch them as
    early as possible, and this could be a diagnostic tool."

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