Showing posts with label 1st entry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1st entry. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Would you like to remember everything you see forever?

I wonder what it would be like to remember every little thing you see everyday forever? Would there be drawbacks? Would our brain overload with so much stored memory? And what about bad memories? Who wants to retain them? This drug, if ever passed out to humans, could pose some interesting situations.

By Annalee Newitz

Imagine if you could look at something once and remember it forever. You would never have to ask for directions again. Now a group of scientists has isolated a protein that mega-boosts your ability to remember what you see.

A group of Spanish researchers reported today in Science that they may have stumbled upon a substance that could become the ultimate memory-enhancer. The group was studying a poorly-understood region of the visual cortex. They found that if they boosted production of a protein called RGS-14 (pictured) in that area of the visual cortex in mice, it dramatically affected the animals' ability to remember objects they had seen.

Mice with the RGS-14 boost could remember objects they had seen for up to two months. Ordinarily the same mice would only be able to remember these objects for about an hour.

The researchers concluded that this region of the visual cortex, known as layer six of region V2, is responsible for creating visual memories. When the region is removed, mice can no longer remember any object they see.

If this protein boosts visual memory in humans, the implications are staggering. In their paper, the researchers say that it could be used as a memory-enhancer – which seems like an understatement. What's particularly intriguing is the fact that this protein works on visual memory only. So as I mentioned earlier, it would be perfect for mapping. It would also be useful for engineers and architects who need to hold a lot of visual images in their minds at once. And it would also be a great drug for detectives and spies.

Could it also be a way to gain photographic memory? For example, if I look at a page of text will I remember the words perfectly? Or will I simply remember how the page looked?

I can't see much of a downside for this potential drug, unless the act of not forgetting what you see causes problems or trauma.

image and text via io9

Friday, July 18, 2008

As It Stands

This blog is a showcase for my newspaper column which has run, off-and-on, for 30 years.
It currently runs in a daily on Sundays in The Eureka Reporter (they have an Online edition too), and in a weekly in the town I live in, The McKinleyville Press.

I am a medically retired newspaper editor and publisher, combat Vietnam/Cambodian veteran (1970), chief dish-washer in my wife and I's empty nest, critic of the Bush Administration, critic of all politicians, wanna be comedian, believer in the power of positive thinking, rabid Laker fan and longtime fan of the Dodgers, owner of a Pug and a Jug (you'll have to look this breed up!), onetime carpet and linoleum saleman, Marvel Comic fan since the sixties, one-time security guard for Pinkerton where I checked cars out in a gated community where John Wayne use to live with then-wife Pilar, once upon a time good chess player, and overall curious guy!

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