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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 185-186

The memory storing synthetic brain cells

1 Assistant Professor, Department of Anatomy, JSS Medical College, JSSAHER, Mysore, Karnataka, India
2 Professor (Additional), Department of Anatomy, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India

Date of Submission30-Sep-2021
Date of Decision10-Oct-2021
Date of Acceptance20-Oct-2021
Date of Web Publication28-Oct-2021

Correspondence Address:
Kumar Satish Ravi
Department of Anatomy, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/NJCA.NJCA_128_21

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How to cite this article:
Pushpa N B, Ravi KS. The memory storing synthetic brain cells. Natl J Clin Anat 2021;10:185-6

How to cite this URL:
Pushpa N B, Ravi KS. The memory storing synthetic brain cells. Natl J Clin Anat [serial online] 2021 [cited 2023 Feb 6];10:185-6. Available from: http://www.njca.info/text.asp?2021/10/4/185/329494

Memory is a process that refers to acquire, store, retain, and retrieve information when needed. This happens in three stages that are encoding, storage, and retrieval. Memory plays an essential role in the development of personal identity, language, and relationships. Various models of memory have been proposed. Richard Atkinson and Richard Shiffrin outlined three separate stages of memory: sensory memory, short-term memory, and long-term memory.[1],[2]

Sensory memory is the first stage of memory, where sensory information, usually visual and auditory inputs from the environment, is stored in the brain for a concise period, about 3 or 4 s. Only a little information from this sensory memory is passed on to the next phase. Short-term memory or working memory, also called active memory, is the next stage of memory. Paying attention to sensory memories leads to short-term memory. Freud called this memory the conscious mind since the info of short-term memory is the ones we are currently thinking about. This will last for up to 30 s, and most of it is forgotten. Attending to this information leads to the formation of long-term memory, which refers to continuing storage of information. Info here is primarily out of one's awareness but, when needed, can be switched on to working memory.[3],[4],[5]

Neuroanatomy of memory is related to brain structures such as the hippocampus, amygdala, corpus striatum, and mammillary bodies.[6] They are concerned with specific types of memory. Although memory is a complex and highly evolved process, it is not free from flaws. Loss of memory is referred to as forgetfulness or amnesia. Forgetting is a relatively common phenomenon that could be due to failure to store, interference, motivated forgetting, and retrieval failure. Damage to some specific regions in patients and animal models leads to subsequent memory deficits. Learning and memory are usually attributed to changes in neuronal synapses, mediated by long-term potentiation and long-term depression.

In a significant breakthrough, researchers have created parts of synthetic brain cells that can hold memories for milliseconds. They have used ions to produce an electrical signal mimicking the way information gets transferred in neurons of the brain. With this invention, one day computer can function like a human brain and at a much less cost using ions.

In a new study at The French National Centre for Scientific Research Paris, the researchers were able to create a computer model of artificial neurons that could produce the same sort of electrical signals neurons use to transfer information in the brain; by sending ions through narrow channels of water mimic natural ion channels, the researchers could produce these electrical spikes. They are in the process of creating a physical model by using these channels. They have created a system that mimics the process of action potential generation – spikes in electrical activity generated by neurons which is a basis of brain neuronal activity. To imitate the voltage-gated ion channel structure, researchers created a thin layer of water between skinny sheets of graphene.[7],[8]

When they tested this model by applying electric field, ions in the water formed work like structures. With greater electric field ion channel structure broke up slowly and left behind a memory or hint of elongated configuration. On linking two channels and other components using simulation, the model showed electrical activity similar to that of action potential generation in a neuron. The Model also remembered two consistent events- one, where ions conducted more electrical energy and other, where ions conducted less electrical energy. In this process, the memory of the previous state of the ions lasted a few seconds, which is the time taken by real neuron to generate action potential and return to resting state.[7]

Practical brain-like computer is a long way to go, but this research will help scientist to understand about synthetic memory cells and develop new theories of brain like computing. In the long run such innovations, may help in treating patients who suffer from memory related diseases.

  References Top

Staniloiu A, Markowitsch HJ. Towards solving the riddle of forgetting in functional amnesia: Recent advances and current opinions. Front Psychol 2012;3:403.  Back to cited text no. 1
Graf P, Schacter DL. Implicit and explicit memory for new associations in normal and amnesic subjects. J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn 1985;11:501-18.  Back to cited text no. 2
Staniloiu A, Markowitsch HJ. The remains of the day in dissociative amnesia. Brain Sci 2012;2:101-29.  Back to cited text no. 3
Schacter DL, Addis DR, Buckner RL. Remembering the past to imagine the future: The prospective brain. Nat Rev Neurosci 2007;8:657-61.  Back to cited text no. 4
Conrad R. Acoustic confusions in immediate memory. Br J Psychol 1964;55:75-84.  Back to cited text no. 5
Splitterber R. Snell's Clinical Neuroanatomy South Asian Edition. Gurugram (India): Wolters Kluwer India Pvt. Ltd;2021.62.  Back to cited text no. 6
Sohn R. Synthetic Brain Cells that Store 'Memories' are Possible, New Model Revels. Available from: https://www.livescience.com/artificial-neurons-memories.html.  Back to cited text no. 7
Hou Y, Hou X. Bioinspired nanofluidic iontronics. Science 2021;373: 628-9.  Back to cited text no. 8


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