Human Biology Cells and Memory

Discussion in 'Human Biology' started by OhIgnorantOne, Dec 13, 2004.

  1. OhIgnorantOne

    OhIgnorantOne Member

    OK JCMINJAPAN This is for you. ;)

    I am going WAY out on a limb somewhere in some Universe that is maybe in the future, or already over in the past...I am unsure. it correct to assume that time moves "forward" and not backwards or sideways or inside out? Maybe we are NOT in the future at each new second, maybe we are in the past, since our bodies are not regenerating and we are dying, we are actually going backwards, like the body ages, but the mind in most cases of old age, seems to regress to long term memory and forgets the shorter term.

    Why would a person, say 90 yrs. old, generally remember the days of their childhood and young adult years more clearly, than they would remember what had happened only a few hours or the day before. Ah, yes also that might be a quandry as well though because the majority of 'elderly meaning to me 90+ in age, seem to also be more aware of the 'future' at the end of their life, ie when passing from this life during a physical death, they speak of a sense of great love, or seeing energies of light and feel a welcoming sense of something.

    Just a thought.


    JCMinJapan Edit - Merged parts of thread into this new one.
  2. SubVolitional

    SubVolitional Member


    OhIgnomiousOne, I believe I might have an explanation for your query.....

    Lets use the example of a child learning the stove is to hot to touch, the first occurence causes a pain reaction atr the point of contact and then the "message" is relayed for conscious assimilation through the vast network of nerves instantaneously. Now, the Brain uses chemical reactions to associate physical reality in ratio to the bodies attitude/mood and subsequent reaction. And being that the child is unlikely to haphazardly touch the stove again, we can make an arguement that first impressions have as close to an indelible mark in our memory as possible. Now if the child were to experiment with the hot stove, the impact of each trial would never come close to the immediate reaction of the first, regardless of any new technique - the first trial influenced all subsequent reaction.

    That an elderly human might think/remember more on thier childhood and young adult years is probably chemically associated; that is all the experiences that helped define his/hers world view were created in those years and, like the initial response to a hot stove, represent the first and most vivid reactions and therefore most exciting references to what would and has become old, repititous and for all intentions known to the elderly individual - i.e. you're more likely to remember that trip to the top of everest that to the top of your 3-Story apartment building.

    Really interesting implications on the light/slit experiment, I first ran across it in "A Brief History of Time" by Stephen Hawking and the jury's still out on the whole dimensional thing.....maybe time for some more research.
  3. OhIgnorantOne

    OhIgnorantOne Member


    Ohhhh, SubVolitional, so you say that older or first memories might, "represent the first and most vivid reactions" therefore they are remembered more clearly?

    But if our cells are dying from the day we are born, as they claim, then why would it necessarily be reasonable to assume that the first cellular memories would not die first, if indeed we were moving forward? Why wouldn't those cell structures holding those memories from the beginning of life be more apt to die off by age 90, thereby leaving the most recent and current memories in tact?

  4. SubVolitional

    SubVolitional Member


    So as to not compromise the integrity of this thread, I suggest we move to Biology under the heading Cells and Memory.....Hope to see you there!:)
  5. SubVolitional

    SubVolitional Member

    I wish I knew how to bring over quotes from another thread......At any rate the topic concerns the occurence of childhood and young adult memories in an elderly human. I contended that first experience accounted for most vivid memory relative to subsequent similar experience because subsequent memory uses the initial response to predicate further decison-making capability. OhIgnorantOne queried with a claim by "them" who say that cells are constantly dying as age progresses and with this being the case, why would memories incorporated by the younger cells persist if those cells were dying. Pant, pant, pant that we have a brief overview of the thought allow me to introduce a very interesting question(s) based on OIOs ponderance....

    A)Do Brain Cells die as we get older, and if so, what are the different causes for neuron death?

    If neurons tied to memory do pass on through out life then memory has to be passed on from one cell to another to perpetuate the lessons learned for the survival of the organism. How would this "mental osmosis" occur?

    OIO, I believe older persons inherently have memory of their earlier years precisely for the reason of survival - wouldn't serve a person well if the brain forgot that a red light in traffic means stop!!!

    Any more thoughts on this, I'm really interested in the process of memory and whether chemical reactions or electricity comprise the modus operandi for thought assimilation....I'll do some research and post what I find as well.

  6. JcMinJapan

    JcMinJapan Premium Member

    I am moving the posts related the thread here. Good call to move it to biology. I was getting ready to divide this anyways as it got alittle off topic. although, I find this topic very interesting. I hope you guys keep it going.
  7. SubVolitional

    SubVolitional Member

    I have found that adult neurogenesis, the formation of new cells in a mature organism, which has been theorized as impossible for neurons,brain cells, etc. has actually been found to occur in the hippocampus, the part of the brain where short-term memory is processed into long-term, as well as a part of the brain involved with olfactory assimilation, which is thought to have the strongest ties to memory(the sense of smell). the link for this page is

    Also, I found a really good link that might explain how memories from earlier years remain so vivid - that is that receptors on the end of dendrites; a type of neuron that recieves and reacts to sensory stimulation as opposed to an axon which sends/relays sensory info; multipy with increased interacton with a singular axon. This means, roughly, that the more times a specific situation/encounter/or association thereof occurs the more receptors a dendrite will have formed to respond and encounter the info - kind of also explaining in biological terms the axiom "Practice makes Perfect". The Link probably explains this better

    - under the heading "Long-Term Potentiation"

    At any rate, as memory is a continous assimilation throughout the life of an organism, so is the formation of new neurons in corralated parts of the brain to represent the new experiences, regardless of cellular death(still attemting to clarify the importance of Brain Cell Death as important to memory - obvious implications but varied reports on the cause/effect as relating to the different functions of the brain - will try to help clarify the different aspects). Hope this helps OhIgnorantOne!

    :ham:An apt smiley regarding neuronal fortitude!!!!
  8. SubVolitional

    SubVolitional Member

    A neuron dies off for one of two reasons:
    -injury or external influence
    -apoptosis, a process of cellular suicide instigated by a pre-progammed genetic code. Apoptosis is useful in the development of an organism where pockets of space need to be created in order for an allowance of proper cell function,i.e. the differentiation of fingers and toes, space between neurons to allow for transmission of synaptic impulses, etc.

    Now in the event of cellular death, does memory pass on to another cell?

    The above link is experimentation of a controlled apoptotic-neurogenisis process upon a culture of neurons - the measuring of memory retention in layered neuronic networks exposed to cellular death and introduction of immature neurons

    (please bear with the jargon - I'm kinda learning this as I go)

    They taught the cultures the Roman and Greek alphabets, Roman prior to apoptotic-neurogenesis and Greek after the process. Memory retention was measured through observed pattern of synaptic firing as well as weight growth with regards to already strong connections as defined by past neuronal interaction.

    It was found that retention of the Roman alphabet degraded after apoptosis-neurogenesis, as I would think logical, but the degradation of memory was less after the teaching of the Greek alphabet - less memory loss with the learning of subsequent similar information even after the elimination of a number of cells which were present at the initial exposure!

    This would mean, assuming my interpretation is correct, that memory is in fact reinforced by early experience, as discussed in an above post. Though some degradation occurs as age progresses, that fact may end up as negatable dependent on how the structure of memory is influenced by subjective factors on an individual basis......
    subjective factors could include the role of neurotransmitters(brain chemicals which aid in the transfer of impulses between synapses) have in prioritizing memory, i.e. the amount of dopamine produced in response to various stimulii.

    I'll keep posting what I learn - I've found this helps in retention of the info and its fun

    One question though, I keep running across the concept of "catastrophic interference" and my attempts to define have thus proved futile. Can anyone shed some light on this?