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Learning, Memory, And Progress Toward A Living Chip

Date:
May 30, 2007
Source:
American Physical Society
Summary:
A new experiment has shown that it's possible to store multiple rudimentary memories in an artificial culture of live neurons. The ability to record information in a manmade network of neurons is a step toward a cyborg-like integration of living material into memory chips.

A new experiment has shown that it's possible to store multiple rudimentary memories in an artificial culture of live neurons. The ability to record information in a manmade network of neurons is a step toward a cyborg-like integration of living material into memory chips. The advance also may help neurologists to understand how our brains learn and store information.

Itay Baruchi and Eshel Ben-Jacob of Tel-Aviv University used an array of electrodes to monitor the firing patterns in a network of linked neurons. As previous studies have shown, simply linking the neurons together leads them to spontaneously fire in coordinated patterns. In the study published in the journal Physical Review E the researchers found that they could deliberately create additional firing patterns that coexist with the spontaneous patterns. They claim that these new firing patterns essentially represent simple memories stored in the neuron network.

To create a new memory in the neurons, the researchers introduced minute amounts of a chemical stimulant into the culture at a selected location. The stimulant induced a second firing pattern, starting at that location. The new firing pattern in the culture along coexisted with the original pattern. Twenty-four hours later, they injected another round of stimulants at a new location, and a third firing pattern emerged. The three memory patterns persisted, without interfering with each other, for over forty hours.

In addition to producing the first chemically operated neuro-memory chip, the researchers propose that their work implies that chemical stimulation may be crucial to learning and memory formation in living organisms.


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The above story is based on materials provided by American Physical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


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American Physical Society. "Learning, Memory, And Progress Toward A Living Chip." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 May 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070529154831.htm>.
American Physical Society. (2007, May 30). Learning, Memory, And Progress Toward A Living Chip. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070529154831.htm
American Physical Society. "Learning, Memory, And Progress Toward A Living Chip." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070529154831.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

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