Lost But Not Forgotten

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How do you lose something you can't touch, can't see, a precious artifact entirely unseen? Such is the pressing question in regards to memory, when you sit down, push your brain and demand your chosen recollection to pop on out, and yet the thought refuses to budge.

Life is, beyond the present, a memory. Our futures are born of our past, and are ultimately determined by previous thoughts, dreams, and ideals. By the end of it, everything will have occurred in the past, rendering life a memory in itself. This is perhaps why amnesia brought about by Dementia is so terrible; those whom have lived the majority of their lives and compiled years of knowledge and experience can no longer access it, and yet they have very little time in the future to recreate such memories.

However, there have been advancements in the study of dementia, and not only why it occurs, but where the memories go. Do they simply dissipate, do they escape into some ethereal dimension, or do they simply tuck away beneath the surface, within view but out of range? Recent studies indicate that memories could very well be stored within us. While they are inaccessible at the moment, this situation may not last indefinitely. Dr. Susumu Tonegawa, a teacher and chief of the RIKEN-MIT Center believes that with ontogenetic, the reclamation of memories will no longer be a dream. Think about WHY and HOW you recall names, experiences, anything. A word, a phrase, a smell, there are triggers all around us that bring about such recollections. Memory researches have determined that within our brain lies a group of neurons that activate upon the acquisition of a memory. When this particular chemical reaction is triggered by whatever your mind deems relevant, the memory is recovered.

Whether this means increasing the capacity for all of humanity to remember, or merely honing in on those who can't, the results (in mice) have shown to be promising. While the surgery is invasive, and entails using light to re-stimulate parts of the brain, mice have either had their memory lost, or strengthened through the manipulation of these neurons within “engram cell”s. Should this study lead to a jump from memory manipulation into humans, we may have edged closer to curing Dementia, and improving our memories as a whole.