Sleep-Wake Cycles - Affects Learning and Memory Formation - Seeker's Thoughts

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Sleep-Wake Cycles - Affects Learning and Memory Formation

Researchers identified a gene in mice that seem to influence memory recall at different times a day and tracked how it causes mice to be more forgetful just before they normally wake up.

Faulty memory happens to all of us all. Things you learned only recently – like the name at a party are the hardest to remember because they haven’t yet taken root in your mind.
Also, the brain has only that much storage space. It needs to make room for new, useful items. And to do that, it has to get rid of less important details, as well as those that you don’t call on often.

It’s also common to forget where you put something or an appointment that was I your schedule. Most of the time that happens because you weren’t paying close attention in the first place. 

Several memory researchers study how new memories are made, the biology of forgetting is more complicated to study because of the difficulties of distinguishing between not knowing and not recalling.

What researchers have designed?
Researchers now designed a memory test that can differentiate between learning versus knowing but not being able to remember.

According to Satoshi Kida from the University of Tokyo Department of Applied Biological chemistry. Researchers tested the memories of young adult male and female mice.
In the “learning”, phase of the memory tests, researchers allowed mice to explore a new object for a few minutes.

Later, in the “recall” phase of the test, researchers observed how long the mice touched the object when it was reintroduced. Mice spend less time touching objects that they remember seeing previously.

Researchers tested the mice’s recall by reintroducing the same object at different times a day.
They did the same experiment with mice and mice without BMAL1 a protein that regulates the expression of many other genes.
BMAL1 – normally fluctuates between low level just before waking up and high levels before going to sleep.

BMAL1 is a heterodimer DNA binding protein involved in the transcription of several genes implicated in the circadian clock mechanisms in mammals 


Also read - Brain Organoids miniature of brain

Researcher findings
Mice trained just before they normally woke up and tested just after normally went to sleep did recognize the object.
Mice trained at the same time --- just before normally woke up, bit tested 24 hours later did not recognize the object.

Healthy mice and mice without BMAL1 had the same pattern of results, but the mice without BMAL1 were, even more, forgetfull just before they normally woke up.
Researchers saw the same results when they tested mice on recognizing an object or recognizing another mouse.

Something about the time of the day before they normally wake up, when BMAL1 levels are normally low, causes mice to not recall something they definitely learned and know.

So why exactly happen to a human being?
The memory research community has previously suspected that the body’s internal, or circadian, clock that is responsible for regulating sleep-wake cycles also affects learning and memory formation.
Researchers claim that they have evidence that the circadian clocks are regulating memory.

What is a circadian clock?
We each have an internal biological clock, called a circadian clock that organized the internal and external activities of our body around 24-hours day.
While these clocks can be influenced by exposure to sunlight and electric light, for instance, our genes also play a role in how they function. That’s part of the reason that sleep and wake habits can vary from individual to individual.

The circadian clock is found in an individual of every human body. The protein they produce control the multitude of 24-hours rhythms in our bodily functions.

How does circadian clockwork?
At least 15 genes are thought to make up the cogs of the circadian clock mechanism. Natural genetic variations in these components can result in profound differences in circadian clocks from person to person. This is why some people have a short circadian clock cycle length or a long cycle length, and why some people are early birds and others are night owls.

Some of these genes and the proteins they produce form a series of interacting molecular pathways that then loop back on one another. The temporal pattern of genes being switched on and off starts afresh once every 24 hours, giving us a near-perfect daily clock.

Circadian clocks do more than tell us when to feel sleepy and when to wake up. They are found in almost all organ systems of our body, such as in the brain, heart, and liver. The clocks then modify cellular processes across the day that are specific to each tissue. When these organ systems are not in sync with one another, which can occur during shift work and jet lag, it can contribute to a health problem.

What is the connection of circadian clock, brain, and memory?
According to Kida, the memory research community has previously suspected that the body's internal, or circadian, clock that is responsible for regulating sleep-wake cycles also affects learning and memory formation.
Researchers have traced the role of BMAL1 in memory retrieval to a specific area of the brain called the hippocampus. Additionally, researchers connected normal BMAL1 to the activation of dopamine receptors and the modification of other small signaling molecules in the brain.
"If researchers can identify ways to boost memory retrieval through this BMAL1 pathway, then we can think about applications to human diseases of memory deficit, like dementia and Alzheimer's disease”
However, the purpose of having memory recall abilities that naturally fluctuate depending on the time of day remains a mystery.
"Researcher want to know what is the evolutionary benefit of having naturally impaired memory recall at certain times of day,”


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