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To Learn More Quickly, Brain Cells Break Their DNA
New work shows that neurons and other brain cells use DNA double-strand breaks, often associated with cancer, neurodegeneration and aging, to quickly express genes related to learning and memory.
The Brain Doesn’t Think the Way You Think It Does
Familiar categories of mental functions such as perception, memory and attention reflect our experience of ourselves, but they are misleading about how the brain works. More revealing approaches are emerging.
The Brain ‘Rotates’ Memories to Save Them From New Sensations
Some populations of neurons simultaneously process sensations and memories. New work shows how the brain rotates those representations to prevent interference.
Brain Cell DNA Refolds Itself to Aid Memory Recall
Researchers see structural changes in genetic material that allow memories to strengthen when remembered.
In Brain Waves, Scientists See Neurons Juggle Possible Futures
Faced with a decision, the brain weighs its options by bundling them into rapidly alternating cycles of brain waves.
Dueling Brain Waves Anchor or Erase Learning During Sleep
While we sleep, one kind of slow brain wave helps to reinforce memories, but a competing wave weakens them.
In Brain’s Electrical Ripples, Markers for Memories Appear
Researchers found that elongating certain brain signals in rats improved their memory. The work revealed a new property to look out for in the hunt for “biomarkers” of learning.
Goals and Rewards Redraw the Brain’s Map of the World
Two new studies show that the brain’s navigation system changes how it represents physical space to reflect personal experience.
How the Brain Creates a Timeline of the Past
The brain can’t directly encode the passage of time, but recent work hints at a workaround for putting timestamps on memories of events.