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Prions Are Key to Preserving Long-Term Memories

Prions Are Key to Preserving Long-Term Memories | Thinking, Learning, and Laughing | Scoop.it

The famed protein chain reaction that made mad cow disease a terror may be involved in helping to ensure that our recollections don't fade.

 

Prions are proteins with two unusual properties: First, they can switch between two possible shapes, one that is stable on its own and an alternate conformation that can form chains. Second, the chain-forming version has to be able to trigger others to change shape and join the chain. Say that in the normal version the protein is folded so that one portion of the protein structure—call it "tab A"—fits into its own "slot B." In the alternate form, though, tab A is available to fit into its neighbor's slot B. That means the neighbor can do the same thing to the next protein to come along, forming a chain or clump that can grow indefinitely.

 

For a brain cell, keeping a memory around is a lot of work. A variety of proteins need to be continually manufactured at the synapse, the small gap that interfaces one cell to another. But whereas a cell may have a multitude of synapses, the protein synthesis that grows and maintains the connection only occurs at specific ones that have been activated. Work in the sea slug Aplysia (a favorite of neuroscientists because of its large cells) showed that a protein called CPEB, for cytoplasmic polyadenylation element binding, is necessary to keep a synapse activated. CPEB acts as a prion.

 

Once the prion's chain reaction gets started it's self-perpetuating, and thus the synapse can be maintained after the initial trigger is gone—perhaps for a lifetime. But that still doesn't explain how the first prion is triggered or why it only happens in certain synapses and not others.

 

An answer comes from Si's work on fruit flies, published February 11 in PLoS Biology. Sex—and, in particular, male courtship behavior—is an ideal realm in which to test memory: If a female is unreceptive, the male will remember this and stop trying to court her. Earlier, Si’s team showed that if the fly's version of CPEB, called Orb2, is mutated so that it cannot act as a prion, the insect briefly remembers that the female is unreceptive but that memory fades over the course of a few days.

 

Now, Si's team has figured out how the cell turns on the machinery responsible for the persistence of memory—and how the memory can be stabilized at just the right time and in the right place.

 

Before the memory is formed a fly's neuron is full of a version of the prion called Orb2B. Although this version can switch shapes to form prions' characteristic clumps, it can't get started without the related protein Orb2A. In this week's paper Si and colleagues untangled the multipartnered dance that controls Orb2A's role. First, a protein called TOB binds to Orb2A, allowing it to persist intact in the cell. (Normally, it would be broken down within a few hours.) Once stabilized it needs to have a phosphate tag attached, and this is done by another protein called Lim kinase.

 

Crucially, Lim kinase is only activated when the cell receives an electrical impulse—and only targeted at that synapse, not any other synaptic connections the cell might also be making. That means that the prion chain reaction is turned on in the specific time and place it's needed. This, researchers say, means the cell has a mechanism to stabilize some synapses but not others—potentially explaining why some of our memories fade, whereas others last a lifetime.

 

Although work so far on these proteins has been in yeast, sea slugs, flies and mice, the human CPEB may operate in the same way to preserve memories. The next steps, both researchers agree, are to develop better techniques to see where in the brain prions are activated, and to dig into more questions about how the prion process is regulated. One burning question: When we forget, does that mean that the prion's chain reaction has been halted?


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Eli Levine's curator insight, February 20, 3:35 PM

They may try to make us forget, and, indeed, they may actually succeed.

 

However, science works both ways, for positive uses and for negative as well.

 

Memory loss may be helpful to some, while memory retention is good for all.

Way cool science.

 

Hope it doesn't effect us negatively in some way.

 

Think about it. 

Nacho Vega's curator insight, February 21, 3:20 PM

"For a #brain cell, keeping a #memory around is a lot of work"

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Your Brain on Books: 10 Things That Happen to Our Minds When We Read - OEDB.org

Your Brain on Books: 10 Things That Happen to Our Minds When We Read - OEDB.org | Thinking, Learning, and Laughing | Scoop.it
Click above to view full image! Any book lover can tell you: diving into a great novel is an immersive experience that can make your brain come alive with imagery and emotions and even turn on your senses.

Via Anu Ojaranta
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sarah's curator insight, October 27, 2013 7:08 AM

intéressant

Pamela D Lloyd's curator insight, October 27, 2013 4:07 PM

Educators have long told us that reading expands our minds. Here are some of the specific ways in which they do so.

Carol Rine's curator insight, October 29, 2013 7:54 AM

This is a GREAT article that has lots of embedded cross-linked articles within it.  :O)

 

Carol

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15 Best Online Bookstores for Cheap New and Used Books

15 Best Online Bookstores for Cheap New and Used Books | Thinking, Learning, and Laughing | Scoop.it
Looking for new books, used books, or textbooks? Sites that offer cheap books abound on the web. We've paged through them to bring you 15 of the very best.
Helen Teague's insight:

Old Faves (Powells) and New Finds (Better World Books, BookMooch) plus more...

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7 Things To Do When You Feel Like Giving Up

7 Things To Do When You Feel Like Giving Up | Thinking, Learning, and Laughing | Scoop.it
No matter how successful you are in life and business, success doesn’t give you immunity from humanity. Here's what to do when you feel like giving up.
Helen Teague's insight:

Post by Clint Salter. I really like this Winston Churchill quote, “If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time – a tremendous whack.”

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How a Bigger Purpose Can Motivate Students to Learn

How a Bigger Purpose Can Motivate Students to Learn | Thinking, Learning, and Laughing | Scoop.it
Psychologists are finding that when students are motivated by a desire to have a positive impact on the world they are more able to plug away at challenging or tedious tasks.
Helen Teague's insight:

High school students in this study characteristically indicated that  making money, attaining fame or pursuing a career that they enjoyed were important to them. But many of them also spoke of additionally wanting to make a positive impact on their community or society. Research psychologist David Yeager (UT Austin) and his colleagues devised a new social psychology intervention to foster a “purposeful learning” mindset as another way to motivate pupils to persevere in their studies.

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Five Minute Offline Task to Build Online Community

Five Minute Offline Task to Build Online Community | Thinking, Learning, and Laughing | Scoop.it
Learn how Tailwind built their online community to over 22,000 top brands, five minutes at a time.
Helen Teague's insight:

the high-impact benefit of the low-tech thank you note

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I so wish I could say: Daddy, thank you so much for the stories.

I so wish I could say: Daddy, thank you so much for the stories. | Thinking, Learning, and Laughing | Scoop.it

"My father added a whole dimension to my childhood, one that I took for granted.

 

When my sister and I were little, we had an almost daily ritual with my father: drawing stories.

 

He would sit us on his lap and get out his clipboard, a piece of paper and his black click pen. He’d divide the paper into four parts, and draw as he told a story. Sometimes he drew old favorites and we knew what would be in each of the four drawings. Sometimes he let us decide what he should say and draw. But most of the time, we had no idea what would come next.

 

And that was really fun."


Via Gregg Morris
Helen Teague's insight:

I am going out to buy marshmallows right now.

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Five Simple Ways To Bring Out The Best In Others

Five Simple Ways To Bring Out The Best In Others | Thinking, Learning, and Laughing | Scoop.it
Do your best, and you might have a nice little career. Bring out the best in others, and you can change the world. Do the math - to accomplish anything significant, you have to involve other people.

Via Barb Jemmott
Helen Teague's insight:

Smiling while I read this post...thanks Barb for the original scoop!

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Marianne Cloeren's curator insight, August 5, 8:22 AM

This line caught my interest - is there a way to communicate this to injured employees who are getting stuck in disability thinking? "With persistence, you can communicate two critical lessons: you have talent burning inside you, and you can bring it out if you are willing to put in sufficient effort."  How do we help patients see the way out of bad situations, especially when it seems the systems conspire to keep them stuck?

Graeme Reid's curator insight, August 6, 10:51 PM

Bring out the best in others, and you can change the world.

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GRATITUDE: A BASIC HUMAN EMOTION FOR INITIATING AND STRENGTHENING INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS

Helen Teague's insight:

Update 8-19-2014: Here is an updated link http://scholarlyrepository.miami.edu/oa_dissertations/1251/ ;

Alternatively, until this study is re-released at the original link, here is a link to additional work on this topic: http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/expandinggratitude/gratitude_research_grant_winners

8-3-14: Original Post--A dissertation on gratitude by Adam R. Smith of the University of Miami....The dissertation examines how gratitude works, and details a function called the WTR (Welfare Tradeoff Ratio)

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20 Signs You’re Succeeding In Life Even If You Don’t Feel You Are

Do you feel like a failure sometimes? Don't worry, here are 20 signs that you are probably succeeding a lot more than you think you are.
Helen Teague's insight:

This post is written by Carol Morgan  for LifeHack...I like this list...would be good for a quick motivational minute speech

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Great Leaders Use This Formula to Motivate People

Great Leaders Use This Formula to Motivate People | Thinking, Learning, and Laughing | Scoop.it

"Leaders naively think the benefits of some new initiative will be obvious to all their employees.  It’s not true.  Sure, your people will nod and agree with you, but they are signaling intellectual understanding, not emotional commitment.  As a leader you need to win people over, one at a time, face to face."

Helen Teague's insight:

"Your job is to overcome the natural resistance to change." written by Aaron D. Hall....This is the next step after implementing Kotter's Change Model...

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The Island Where People Forget to Die

The Island Where People Forget to Die | Thinking, Learning, and Laughing | Scoop.it
Unraveling the mystery of why the inhabitants of Ikaria, an island of 99 square miles that is home to almost 10,000 Greek nationals, live so long and so well.
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Wisdom – a short guide

Wisdom – a short guide | Thinking, Learning, and Laughing | Scoop.it

It’s one of the grandest and oddest words out there, so lofty, it doesn’t sound like something one could ever consciously strive to be – unlike say, being cultured, or kind. Others could perhaps compliment you on being it, but it wouldn’t be something you could yourself ever announce you had become.


Via Barb Jemmott
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The Psychology of Motivation: How To Get Stuff Done, Even When You’re Not “On”

The Psychology of Motivation: How To Get Stuff Done, Even When You’re Not “On” | Thinking, Learning, and Laughing | Scoop.it
Learn how to tap into the psychology of motivation to ride "motivation waves" and get more done every day.

Via Barb Jemmott
Helen Teague's insight:

Proactive ideas and  Solution thinking to  help people succeed on the most desirable behavior that matches their current situational motivation   also included is the YouTube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqUSjHjIEFg

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10 Successful Professionals Share What They Wish They Knew in College

10 Successful Professionals Share What They Wish They Knew in College | Thinking, Learning, and Laughing | Scoop.it
Successful professionals share what they wish they knew in college.
Helen Teague's insight:

especially poignant is David Essel's list

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12 Weekend Habits of Highly Successful People

12 Weekend Habits of Highly Successful People | Thinking, Learning, and Laughing | Scoop.it

Richard Branson says, “it is amazing how focusing your mind on issues like health, poverty, conservation and climate change can help to re-energize your thinking in other areas.” Successful people agree with Anne Frank: “No one has ever become poor from giving.” Tom Corley studied the rich for five years before writing his book “Wealthy Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals.” He found that 73% of wealthy people volunteer for five or more hours per month. Read more of  the top 12 weekend habits of highly successful people.

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10 Sentences You Should Tell Yourself When Facing Huge Challenges

10 Sentences You Should Tell Yourself When Facing Huge Challenges | Thinking, Learning, and Laughing | Scoop.it
“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something.

Via Barb Jemmott
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Love thy neighbour, it's good for the heart: study

Love thy neighbour, it's good for the heart: study | Thinking, Learning, and Laughing | Scoop.it
Helen Teague's insight:

"Having good neighbors and feeling connected to others in the local community may help to curb an individual's heart attack risk," said a statement that accompanied a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

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The gasp of combined

The gasp of combined | Thinking, Learning, and Laughing | Scoop.it
"Prescription Painkillers Kill More Than Heroin and Cocaine ... Combined" [Liberty Voice] "The U.S. spent more on defense in 2012 than the countries with the next 10 highest budgets ... combined." ...
Helen Teague's insight:

By David Weinberger--The gasp of combined -- "We love the 'more than ___ … combined' trope" --my favorite blog right now-- http://www.hyperorg.com/blogger/2014/08/08/the-gasp-of-combined/ via @dweinberger

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J. R. R. Tolkien’s 10 Tips For Writers: INFOGRAPHIC - GalleyCat

J. R. R. Tolkien’s 10 Tips For Writers: INFOGRAPHIC - GalleyCat | Thinking, Learning, and Laughing | Scoop.it
J. R. R. Tolkien’s 10 Tips For Writers: INFOGRAPHIC
Helen Teague's insight:

By Dianna Dilworth Thanks to The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by Humphrey Carpenter, we can literally speak with the author of the world fantasy classic

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Stress Literally Shrinks Your Brain: Five Strategies for Reversing This Effect

Stress Literally Shrinks Your Brain: Five Strategies for Reversing This Effect | Thinking, Learning, and Laughing | Scoop.it
Dr. Travis Bradberry explains startling new research from Yale University and shows you how to keep your stress under control.
Helen Teague's insight:

This study was mentioned in "How Successful People Stay Calm" written by Travis Bradberry

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Helen Teague's curator insight, August 5, 10:07 AM

Helen Teague's insight:

This study was mentioned in "How Successful People Stay Calm" written by Travis Bradberry

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Animal Record Breaker Pictures - National Geographic

Animal Record Breaker Pictures - National Geographic | Thinking, Learning, and Laughing | Scoop.it
See photos of record breakers in the animal kingdom (including cheetahs, elephants, falcons, and more) in this photo gallery from National Geographic.
Helen Teague's insight:

What these animals will go through for 3 squares a day! (spoiler alert: skip the picture of the snake)

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Offices For All! Why Open-Office Layouts Are Bad For Employees, Bosses, And Productivity

Offices For All! Why Open-Office Layouts Are Bad For Employees, Bosses, And Productivity | Thinking, Learning, and Laughing | Scoop.it
In part one of our two-part series, Fast Company senior editor Jason Feifer makes a case for giving all workers a little alone time--behind an office...
Helen Teague's insight:

Employees in cubicles receive 29% more interruptions than those in private offices, finds research from the University of California, Irvine. And employees who are interrupted frequently report 9% higher rates of exhaustion.

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The social origins of intelligence in the brain

The social origins of intelligence in the brain | Thinking, Learning, and Laughing | Scoop.it

By studying the injuries and aptitudes of Vietnam War veterans who suffered penetrating head wounds during the war, researchers have found that brain regions that contribute to optimal social functioning are also vital to general intelligence and emotional intelligence.

 

This finding, reported in the journal Brain, bolsters the view that general intelligence emerges from the emotional and social context of one’s life.

“We are trying to understand the nature of general intelligence and to what extent our intellectual abilities are grounded in social cognitive abilities,” said Aron Barbey, a University of Illinois professor of neuroscience, psychology, and speech and hearing science.

 

Barbey, an affiliate of the Beckman Institute and he Institute for Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois, led the new study with an international team of collaborators.

 

The study involved 144 Vietnam veterans injured by shrapnel or bullets that penetrated the skull, damaging distinct brain tissues while leaving neighboring tissues intact. Using CT scans, the scientists painstakingly mapped the affected brain regions of each participant, then pooled the data to build a collective map of the brain.

 

The researchers used a battery of carefully designed tests to assess participants’ intellectual, emotional and social capabilities. They then looked for damage in specific brain regions tied to deficits in the participants’ ability to navigate intellectual, emotional or social realms. Social problem solving in this analysis primarily involved conflict resolution with friends, family and peers at work.

 

As in their earlier studies of general intelligence and emotional intelligence, the researchers found that regions of the frontal cortex (at the front of the brain), the parietal cortex (further back near the top of the head) and the temporal lobes (on the sides of the head behind the ears) are all implicated in social problem solving. The regions that contributed to social functioning in the parietal and temporal lobes were located only in the brain’s left hemisphere, while both left and right frontal lobes were involved.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
Helen Teague's insight:

From Dr. Stefan Gruenwald:

By studying the injuries and aptitudes of Vietnam War veterans who suffered penetrating head wounds during the war, researchers have found that brain regions that contribute to optimal social functioning are also vital to general intelligence and emotional intelligence.

 

This finding, reported in the journal Brain, bolsters the view that general intelligence emerges from the emotional and social context of one’s life.

“We are trying to understand the nature of general intelligence and to what extent our intellectual abilities are grounded in social cognitive abilities,” said Aron Barbey, a University of Illinois professor of neuroscience, psychology, and speech and hearing science.

 

Barbey, an affiliate of the Beckman Institute and he Institute for Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois, led the new study with an international team of collaborators.

 

The study involved 144 Vietnam veterans injured by shrapnel or bullets that penetrated the skull, damaging distinct brain tissues while leaving neighboring tissues intact. Using CT scans, the scientists painstakingly mapped the affected brain regions of each participant, then pooled the data to build a collective map of the brain.

 

The researchers used a battery of carefully designed tests to assess participants’ intellectual, emotional and social capabilities. They then looked for damage in specific brain regions tied to deficits in the participants’ ability to navigate intellectual, emotional or social realms. Social problem solving in this analysis primarily involved conflict resolution with friends, family and peers at work.

 

As in their earlier studies of general intelligence and emotional intelligence, the researchers found that regions of the frontal cortex (at the front of the brain), the parietal cortex (further back near the top of the head) and the temporal lobes (on the sides of the head behind the ears) are all implicated in social problem solving. The regions that contributed to social functioning in the parietal and temporal lobes were located only in the brain’s left hemisphere, while both left and right frontal lobes were involved.

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Eric Chan Wei Chiang's curator insight, August 2, 12:30 PM

There is a popular myth that humans use no more than 10% of their brains throughout their entire life. This has been shown to be untrue as brain damage consistently results in loss of function. Nonetheless, this myth provided the premise for some great movies such as the 2014 film, Lucy 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucy_(2014_film)

 

Read more scoops on the brain here:

http://www.scoop.it/t/biotech-and-beyond/?tag=Brain

Jocelyn Stoller's curator insight, August 13, 4:55 AM

Strange that CT scans were used. High resolution Functional MRI would show both structure and activity. Other imaging methods such as optogenetics, MEG, TMS, BOLD, etc. could also help to pinpoint these areas without using radiation on an already-injured brain.

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The Neuroscience Behind Stress and Learning

The Neuroscience Behind Stress and Learning | Thinking, Learning, and Laughing | Scoop.it
Neuroimaging and EEG studies provide a scientific basis for the sometimes controversial belief that children become better learners when they actually enjoy learning.
Helen Teague's insight:

Neuroimaging research reveals the disturbances in the brain's learning circuits and neurotransmitters that accompany stressful learning environments...this information has led to the development of brain-compatible strategies to help students 

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Rewiring Your Emotions | Mindful

Rewiring Your Emotions | Mindful | Thinking, Learning, and Laughing | Scoop.it
Think you're destined to respond the same way emotionally to the same old triggers? Not necessarily so, says Sharon Begley. With a little mind training, you can chart new pathways.
Helen Teague's insight:

the “cognitive brain” is also the “emotional brain.” As a result, activity in certain cognitive regions sends signals to the emotion-generating regions. So while you can’t just order yourself to have a particular feeling, you can sort of sneak up on your emotions via your thoughts.

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iPhone 5S

iPhone 5S | Thinking, Learning, and Laughing | Scoop.it
An iPhone 5S has 1,300 times more processing power than the computer that landed Apollo 11 on the moon.
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