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Are Total Recall-Style Fake Memory Implants Coming Soon?

Rat brain slices in a dish do not a blockbuster movie make.

by
Charlie Martin

Bio

September 12, 2012 - 6:59 am
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Those crazy kids at Gizmodo had a story today called “Scientists Invent Method to Create Memories in Brains” that got a lot of attention.

It sounds like a Philip K. Dick story. Sadly Gizmodo is about as reliable on science reporting as their corporate sibling Gawker is on politics, but the actual report is interesting, and even pretty hopeful.

The real paper is ”Mnemonic Representations of Transient Stimuli and Temporal Sequences in Rodent Hippocampus In Vitro,” and it describes an interesting experiment: the researchers at Case Western, Ben W. Strowbridge and Robert A. Hyde, dissected out little fragments of a structure in a rat’s brain called the hippocampus, put them on glass, and stimulated them.  They were able to show that the little bits of hippocampus changed their activity in a way that was similar to what happened in rat hippocampus in live rats who were exposed to some simple stimulus.  (I picked up a nice picture fron an NIH publication that shows where the hippocampus is.)

Here's a picture for context: a rat's brain and a human brain, both with the hippocampus in brown.

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