Tech & Science: Dreams Help the Brain Forget Useless Memories, Study Suggests - - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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Tech & Science Dreams Help the Brain Forget Useless Memories, Study Suggests

07:15  23 september  2019
07:15  23 september  2019 Source:   newsweek.com

Squirrels eavesdrop on birds to stay out of danger, study suggests

Squirrels eavesdrop on birds to stay out of danger, study suggests Super sleuth squirrels eavesdrop on the chatter of nearby birds to work out when it is safe to sneak past, according to a new study. The grey incarnation of the furry-tailed rodents are said to be able to distinguish between different calls made by potential predators, giving them an idea of when is best to emerge. Scientists in the US observed the squirrels waiting patiently to come off high alert upon hearing the shriek of a predator call - and becoming more relaxed when they are confident the birds are engaging in more casual chatter.

Brain cells work to actively forget memories during a specific phase of sleep. That's according to scientists, who hope their research could help to deepen our understanding of Alzheimer's disease. Forgetting is an active process, explained the authors of the study published in the journal Science.

When you sleep, your brains clear out the memories you've made while you're awake, deciding what to keep and what to discard.

a person lying on a bed: Researchers believe our brains may actively forget information while we sleep. In this stock image, a woman sleeps in a bed. © Getty Researchers believe our brains may actively forget information while we sleep. In this stock image, a woman sleeps in a bed.

Brain cells work to actively forget memories during a specific phase of sleep. That's according to scientists, who hope their research could help to deepen our understanding of Alzheimer's disease. 

When we sleep, our brains clear out the memories we've made while we're awake, deciding what to keep and what to discard. Forgetting is an active process, explained the authors of the study published in the journal Science. But less is known about this process during the different phases of sleep.

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Honey Bees Remember Happy and Sad Times, Scientists Discover "This discovery is striking given how small their brains are," researcher Gene Robinson said.

Most of us think “perfect” memory means never forgetting , but maybe forgetting actually helps us navigate a world that is random and ever-changing. The argument is that memory isn’t supposed to act like a video recorder, but instead like a list of useful rules that help us make better decisions, says

There have even been studies finding that clearing itself of useless memories reduces the risk of Aside from explaining why dreams are often forgotten during REM sleep, it also suggests that neurons “These results suggest that MCH neurons help the brain actively forget new, possibly

The team found that during the rapid eye movement (REM) sleep phase—or active sleep when we are thought to dream—special nerve cells appear to actively contribute to forgetting. What are known as melanin-concentrating hormone-producing (MCH) neurons sit in the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that helps with a range of functions such as sleep, appetite, and emotions. Past research has suggested these cells help to control REM sleep patterns: activating the MCH neurons increasing time spent in this phase, while inhibiting them reducing transitions into this phase.

The team looked at MCH cells in mice, and found 52.8 percent were active during REM sleep, compared with 35 percent when the mice were awake.

They also turned MCH neurons on and off during memory tests. MCH cells appeared to send messages to the hippocampus to stop the formation of memories.

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“These results suggest that hypothalamic M.C.H. neurons help the brain actively forget new information that is not important Kilduff of S.R.I. International tells Newsweek’s Kashmira Gander the study could have implications for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and similar memory disorders.

NIH-funded study suggests REM sleep may prevent information overload. After discovering this new circuit, we thought these cells might help the brain store memories ,” said Dr. Kilduff. “These results suggest that MCH neurons help the brain actively forget new, possibly, unimportant information

Study co-author Thomas Kilduff, director of the Center for Neuroscience at SRI International, told Newsweek the team was surprised to find that mice performed better on learning and memory tasks when the MCH cells were inhibited.

"This result suggests that activation of the MCH neurons may interfere with memory consolidation—that is, MCH neurons may facilitate forgetting," Kilduff explained.

Asked what motivated the study, Kilduff said: "There is a lot of research interest in the neural bases of learning and memory. There is research controversy about the role of sleep in learning and memory, specifically, whether REM sleep, Slow Wave Sleep or both types of sleep are important for memory consolidation."

Recent research in animals with Alzheimer's disease suggests that disrupted sleep may make beta-amyloid, a protein linked to the neurodegenerative condition, build up quicker in the brain "and conversely, that enhancing sleep may slow this process," Kilduff said. 

Scientists Identify Neurons That Help the Brain Forget

  Scientists Identify Neurons That Help the Brain Forget One afternoon in April 1929, a journalist from a Moscow newspaper turned up in Alexander Luria’s office with an unusual problem: He never forgot things. Dr. Luria, a neuropsychologist, proceeded to test the man, who later became known as subject S., by spouting long strings of numbers and words, foreign poems and scientific formulas, all of which S. recited back without fail. Decades later, S. still remembered the lists of numbers perfectly whenever Dr. Luria retested him.

Recurrent dreams , which can continue for years, may be treated as any other dream . That is, one may look for parallels between the dream and the thoughts, feelings, behavior, and motives of the dreamer . Understanding the meaning of the recurrent dream sometimes can help the dreamer resolve an

With dreams , however, forgetting is normal. Why? "We have a tendency to immediately forget dreams , and it's likely that people who Upon awakening, the brain may need at least 2 minutes to jump-start its memory -encoding abilities. In a 2017 study published in the journal Frontiers in Human

Asked whether the study explained why we forget our dreams, Kilduff said: "We can't ask our experimental subjects [mice] about their dreams. However, we and others have shown that most MCH neurons are only active during REM sleep, which is when most dreams are reported in humans.

"Since we have shown that activation of MCH neurons interferes with memory consolidation, activation of this neural circuit during REM sleep may indeed make it more difficult to remember our dreams," he said.

Kilduff acknowledged the study was limited because it was conducted on lab rodents, not humans. Also, mice are nocturnal, with periods of sleeping and being awake distributed throughout the day and night, whereas most humans have a single consolidated sleep period that usually occurs at night, he said. 

However, the team hopes the work could deepen our understanding of Alzheimer's disease.

"Understanding the neural basis of learning and memory is a huge area of neuroscience research because of its implications for our everyday lives, as well as conditions with cognitive dysfunction such as Alzheimer's disease. Prior to this work, no one suspected that MCH neurons had anything to do with forgetting," said Kilduff. 

Dreaming Might Help Us Erase Unneeded Memories

  Dreaming Might Help Us Erase Unneeded Memories Our brains might be using REM sleep as a time to sweep away unnecessary information and prepare for a fresh influx of knowledge.In a study published in the journal Science, researchers in Japan observed the mice's hypothalamus while the mice slept. During their deep REM sleep—which is associated with dreaming in humans—a type of neuron that produced a hormone called MCH had a sharp uptick in activity. The MCH neurons also appeared to be targeting neurons in the hippocampus, the brain region that consolidates memories.

A new study reveals this sleep period may also be critical for us to forget certain memories “These results suggest that MCH neurons help the brain actively forget new, possibly, unimportant “Since dreams are thought to primarily occur during REM sleep, the sleep stage when the MCH cells turn on

Our brains tend to forget memories of things that happened (episodic memories ) more quickly than general knowledge (semantic memories ). In fact, episodic memories tend to fade fairly quickly anyway — knowing which shirt you wore six weeks ago is rarely helpful. Many different factors go into this

Gallery: 15 Health Problems Caused by Your Lack of Sleep (Provided by Best Life)

a woman standing in front of a laptop: Though most people know they should be getting seven to eight hours of sleep per night, that doesn't mean they actually are. On the contrary, a 2013 Gallup poll found that a whopping 40 percent of Americans are getting less than seven hours of shut eye every night. Understandably, sleep is hardly a priority for people who have to balance careers, families, and personal lives—but given how much of an impact it has on your health, it should be. Before your next late night at the office or midnight movie marathon, consider these health problems caused by lack of sleep. And for more health advice that will keep you mentally and physically fit for decades to come, don't miss these 100 Ways to Live to 100.

Your Brain Can Recognize a Song in Just 100 Milliseconds .
Scientists played familiar and unfamiliar songs to a group of volunteers, and monitored their brains.The research involved 22 people who listened to song snippets less than a second long. Scientists at University College London played segments from songs to 10 participants that were either familiar, sounded similar to their chosen tracks, or they had never heard before. The remaining 12 volunteers didn't know any of the songs, and acted as the control group.

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