Year in review: Memories vulnerable to manipulation | Science News

MISSION CRITICAL

Support credible science journalism.

Subscribe to Science News today.


Feature

Year in review: Memories vulnerable to manipulation

Experiments reveal how brain forms, stores recollections

By
6:00am, December 17, 2014
neurons in the brain

JUMBLED  The hippocampus (blue, mouse brain shown) churns out neurons (white) early in life that may disrupt memories from infancy.

5

Memories can often seem hazy, but the brain creates and destroys them with exacting precision. New experimental results reported in 2014 helped bring scientists closer to understanding how the brain manipulates memories to make sense of
the world.

The results have practical implications, too: By picking apart the memory process, scientists may ultimately be able to intervene in cases when bad memories become problematic. “Right now it may sound like science fiction,” says neuroscientist Susumu Tonegawa of MIT. But in the next few decades, scientists and clinicians may develop sophisticated ways of tapping into certain brain regions to ease bad memories that can contribute to problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder or depression, he says.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join the Society today or Log in.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More on 2014 Top 25