By directly recording neuronal activity through implanted electrodes in a group of epilepsy patients at the hospital, data was first taken while the patients watched scenes in familiar video clips. The group was then later asked to freely recall any of the videos while neuron recordings continued.
Although single (or very small collections) of neurons were being directly recorded, it was determined that they were not acting alone while accessing the “stored memory.” Rather, the recall process was part of a much larger network, possibly comprised of hundreds of thousands of neuron nodes. In addition, the work provides a bit of experimental confirmation of the previously theoretical notion that “memory recall” involves the same neurons that are active during “memory formation.”
This understanding is vital for the development of neural devices because it is becoming even more evident that large, interconnected networks of neurons are required to create create memories and any form of human “thought.” If we want to create technologies that will directly integrate into human neural networks, there must be a full understanding of not just the structure of the network, but also how the network can re-use the same neurons (or, network nodes) with possibly different patterns of activity to perform multiple brain functions or represent different “thoughts” of the mind.
“How memories are made, and recalled” :: PhysOrg.com :: September 8, 2008 :: [ READ ]