Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cause of infantile amnesia revealed: New neuron formation could increase capacity for new learning, at expense of old memories

Date:
May 24, 2013
Source:
Canadian Association for Neuroscience
Summary:
New research presented today shows that formation of new neurons in the hippocampus -- a brain region known for its importance in learning and remembering -- could cause forgetting of old memories by causing a reorganization of existing brain circuits. Researchers argue this reorganization could have the positive effect of clearing old memories, reducing interference and thereby increasing capacity for new learning.

New research presented today shows that formation of new neurons in the hippocampus -- a brain region known for its importance in learning and remembering -- could cause forgetting of old memories by causing a reorganization of existing brain circuits. Drs. Paul Frankland and Sheena Josselyn, both from the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, argue this reorganization could have the positive effect of clearing old memories, reducing interference and thereby increasing capacity for new learning.

These results were presented at the 2013 Canadian Neuroscience Meeting, the annual meeting of the Canadian Association for Neuroscience -- Association Canadienne des Neurosciences (CAN-ACN).

Researchers have long known of the phenomenon of infantile amnesia: This refers to the absence of long-term memory of events occurring within the first 2-3 years of life, and little long-term memories for events occurring until about 7 years of age. Studies have shown that though young children can remember events in the short term, these memories do not persist. This new study by Frankland and Josselyn shows that this amnesia is associated with high levels of new neuron production -- a process called neurogenesis -- in the hippocampus, and that more permanent memory formation is associated with a reduction in neurogenesis.

Dr. Frankland and Dr. Josselyn's approach was to look at retention of memories in young mice in which they suppressed the usual high levels of neurogenesis in the hippocampus (thereby replicating the circuit stability normally observed in adult mice), but also in older mice in which they stimulated increased neurogenesis (thereby replicating the conditions normally seen in younger mice). Dr. Frankland was able to show a causal relationship between a reduction in neurogenesis and increased remembering, and the converse, decreased remembering when neurogenesis increased.

Dr. Frankland concludes: " Why infantile amnesia exists has long been a mystery. We think our new studies begin to explain why we have no memories from our earliest years."

This research was supported by funds from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the "Chase an Idea in Paediatric Neuroscience" grant from The Centre for Brain & Behaviour at the Hospital for Sick Children.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Canadian Association for Neuroscience. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Canadian Association for Neuroscience. "Cause of infantile amnesia revealed: New neuron formation could increase capacity for new learning, at expense of old memories." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 May 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130524104634.htm>.
Canadian Association for Neuroscience. (2013, May 24). Cause of infantile amnesia revealed: New neuron formation could increase capacity for new learning, at expense of old memories. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130524104634.htm
Canadian Association for Neuroscience. "Cause of infantile amnesia revealed: New neuron formation could increase capacity for new learning, at expense of old memories." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130524104634.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) New research shows that women who suffer from PTSD are three times more likely to develop a food addiction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Corporal punishment in the United States is on the decline, but there is renewed debate over its use after Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins