Memory Mechanisms: A Tribute to G.V. Goddard

Memory Mechanisms: A Tribute to G.V. Goddard

Memory Mechanisms: A Tribute to G.V. Goddard

Memory Mechanisms: A Tribute to G.V. Goddard

Synopsis

Presenting the work of researchers who are at the forefront of the study of memory mechanisms, this volume addresses a wide range of topics including: physiological and biophysical studies of synaptic plasticity, neural models of information storage and recall, functional and structural considerations of amnesia in brain-damaged patients, and behavioral studies of animal cognition and memory. The book's coverage of diverse approaches to memory mechanisms is intended to help dissolve the borders between behavioral psychology, cognitive neuropsychology, and neurophysiology.

Excerpt

In 1949 Donald Hebb published his now famous synaptic modification postulate: "When an axon of cell A is near enough to excite cell B and repeatedly or persistently takes part in firing it, some growth process or metabolic change takes place in one or both cells such that A's efficiency, as one of the cells firing B, is increased." Although this and other related theories had a profound impact on our way of thinking about the mechanisms underlying information storage in the brain, there was no experimental support for any such mechanism in vertebrates for another 25 years. During this period numerous observations were made regarding post-tetanic potentiation of synaptic efficacy at the neuromuscular junction or at synapses in the spinal cord. However, this form of enhanced synaptic transmission lasted only for a period of between minutes and an hour or two (if very long stimulation trains were delivered), and it never appeared likely that it would be a useful mechanism for the storage of long-term memories lasting for days or years.

The waiting ended with an abstract by Terje Lømo in 1966 and the subsequent full reports by Bliss, Lømo, and Gardner-Medwin in 1973 that brief high-frequency electrical stimulation of the perforant path input to the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus could elicit a lasting enhancement of synaptic transmission in this pathway that persisted for days or weeks. The physiological characteristics of this enhancement, termed long-term potentiation (LTP), and the rules governing its induction were . . .

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