The ability to remember sounds, and manipulate them in our minds, is incredibly important to our daily lives — without it we would not be able to understand a sentence, or do simple arithmetic. New research is shedding light on how sound memory works in the brain, and is even demonstrating a means to improve it.
By Bruno Geoffroy For decades, scientists have fiercely debated whether rapid eye movement (REM) sleep – the phase where dreams appear – is directly involved in memory formation. Now, a study published in Science by researchers at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute (McGill University) and the University of Bern provides evidence that REM sleep does, indeed, play this role – at least in mice.
Why is it that some people have richly detailed recollection of past experiences (episodic memory), while others tend to remember just the facts without details (semantic memory)? A research team from the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Health Sciences has shown for the first time that these different ways of experiencing the past are associated with distinct brain connectivity patterns that may be inherent to the individual and suggest a life-long “memory trait”. The study was recently published online in the journal Cortex.
McGill researchers have discovered, for the first time, the importance of a key epigenetic regulator in the development of the hippocampus, a part of the brain associated with learning, memory and neural stem cells. Epigenetic regulators change the way specific genes function without altering their DNA sequence. By working with mutant mice as models, the research team, led by Prof. Xiang-Jiao Yang, of McGill’s Goodman Cancer Center & Department of Medicine, McGill University Health Center, was able to link the importance of a specific epigenetic regulator known as BRPF1 to the healthy development of a region in the hippocampus called the dentate gyrus.
A study just published in the prestigious Nature Neuroscience journal by, Sylvain Williams, PhD, and his team, of the Research Centre of the Douglas Mental Health University Institute and McGill University, opens the door towards better understanding of the neural circuitry and dynamic mechanisms controlling memory as well of the role of an essential element of the hippocampus – a sub-region named the subiculum.
Dr. Brenda Milner, an active researcher at the age of 95 at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital - The Neuro, McGill University, is a recipient of The 2014 Kavli Prize in Neuroscience.
Research from McGill University reveals that the brain’s motor network helps people remember and recognize music that they have performed in the past better than music they have only heard. A recent study by Prof. Caroline Palmer of the Department of Psychology sheds new light on how humans perceive and produce sounds, and may pave the way for investigations into whether motor learning could improve or protect memory or cognitive impairment in aging populations. The research is published in the journal Cerebral Cortex.
Dr. Brenda Milner, an active researcher at the age of 95 at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, McGill University, has been awarded the 2014 Dan David Prize for her fundamental contributions to the science of memory and the brain. Dr. Milner is widely recognized as one of the founders of cognitive neuroscience–the field that brings together brain and behavior. Dr. Milner, who is the Dorothy J. Killam Professor of Psychology, shares the Prize for the category Present: “Combatting Memory Loss”, with Peter St. George-Hyslop (University of Cambridge) and John A.
Guidance proteins regulate brain plasticity February 4, 2013 - Our ability to learn and form new memories is fully dependent on the brain’s ability to be plastic – that is to change and adapt according to new experiences and environments. A new study from the Montreal Neurological Institute – The Neuro, McGill University, reveals that DCC, the receptor for a crucial protein in the nervous system known as netrin, plays a key role in regulating the plasticity of nerve cell connections in the brain.
Pioneering memory researcher Brenda Milner inducted into the Canadian Science and Engineering Hall of Fame
November 21 2012 - Dr. Brenda Milner, pioneer in the field of cognitive neuroscience whose discoveries revolutionized the understanding of memory, is being inducted into the Canadian Science and Engineering Hall of Fame today. The induction ceremony takes place at the Canada Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa. Other inductees are physicist and educator Dr. Ursula Franklin and aviation pioneer J.A.D. McCurdy.