Sunday, August 27, 2006

 

Researchers provide first evidence for learning mechanism

Finally confirming a fact that remained unproven for more than 30 years, researchers at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory report in the Aug. 25 issue of Science that certain key connections among neurons get stronger when we learn.

"We show what everyone has always believed: LTP (long-term potentiation) is indeed induced in the hippocampus when learning occurs," said Mark F. Bear, Picower Professor of Neuroscience. "This is a big deal for neuroscientists because such evidence has been absent for the 30-plus years we have known about LTP."

The findings described in the Bear paper and in a second, separate paper in the same issue of the journal Science "substantially advance the case for LTP as a neural mechanism for memory," wrote Tim Bliss of the MRC National Institute for Medical Research in the UK, Graham Collingridge of the University of Bristol, and Serge Laroche of the Universite Paris Sud in a commentary on the work. [Massachusetts Institute of Technology]
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The two Science papers referred to are:

"Learning Induces Long-Term Potentiation in the Hippocampus" (Abstract)

"Storage of Spatial Information by the Maintenance Mechanism of LTP" (Abstract)

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