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في اختراق هام.. العلماء يصوّرون اللحظة التي يصنع فيها الدماغ ذكريات جديدة!

In an important breakthrough, scientists photograph the moment when the brain creates new memories!

A team of researchers at the University of Southern California imaged the live brains of zebrafish to show how the brain processes and stores memories in a groundbreaking study.

With the help of a specially designed microscope, the researchers were able to record how the fish’s brain cells – which are transparent when young – lit up.

The study, which mapped changes in the brain, showed in the surprising discovery that making memories appears to create new synapses – connections between neurons – or make them disappear altogether. The widely accepted theory that learning and memories strengthen synapses has not been clear.

Co-author and director of the Department of Informatics at the University of Southern California Institute of Information Sciences and computer scientist Professor, Karl Kisselmann, said in statment Journalist: “For the past 40 years, the common wisdom has been that you learn by changing the strength of synapses but that’s not what we found in this case.”

Lead author Professor Don Arnold at the University of Southern California added: “This was the best possible result we could have because we saw this dramatic change in the number of synapses – some disappearing, some forming, and we saw it in a very distinct part of the brain. And the dogma was that “Synapses change their strength. But I was surprised to see push and pull, and we didn’t see a change in the strength of the synapses.”

By allowing scientists to track and name synaptic changes, the experiment may help show how memories form and why certain types of memories are stronger than others.

Researchers believe this could offer a breakthrough in new treatments for post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) and neurodegenerative diseases.

He found that negative memories appear to form in a different part of the brain than most other memories – the amygdala, which is responsible for emotional responses including fight or flight.

“Memory formation was thought to primarily involve the remodeling of existing synaptic connections while in this study, we found the formation and removal of synapses, but we only saw small, random changes in the synaptic strength of existing synapses,” Arnold explained.

This may be due to this study’s focus on associative memories, which are much more powerful than other memories and are formed in a different place in the brain, the amygdala, versus the hippocampus for most other memories. This may one day be related to PTSD, which is thought to be mediated through the formation of associative memories.

The study used zebrafish because their brains are similar to those of humans, both genetically and cellularly, but the young fish are transparent – allowing an unaltered look at their living brains.

Professor Arnold said: ‘Our sensors can label synapses in a living brain without changing their structure or function, which was not possible with previous tools.

Using a new advanced microscope, invented at the University of Southern California, they were able to study fish brains over time and compare synapses and synaptic changes in the same brains – a ‘breakthrough in the field of neuroscience’.

Previous experiments were done on dead specimens, and this experiment means they have hundreds of images of the neural activity of the same fish.

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During six years of research, the researchers trained zebrafish to associate illuminated light with the unpleasant sensation of heating an infrared laser in their heads.

The fish, whose DNA has been altered so that synapses can be marked with a fluorescent protein that glows when scanned with a laser, will try to avoid the laser by swimming away.

The fish that remembered the bond flicked its tail when the light shone, even without the laser.

Five hours after the initial exposure to the laser, the researchers measured dramatic changes in the animal’s synaptic and neuronal function.

The results were analyzed in a group led by Kiselman, which developed new algorithms to monitor shifting entangled patterns.

Source: Daily Mail