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False Memory Implanted in Mice by MIT Scientists

By Nupur Jha on July 28, 2013 8:17 AM EDT 0

mouse
brains of mice were inserted with optic fibres for passing pulses of light to their brains. (Photo: Reuters)

Scientists have generated false memory in genetically modified mice using a technique called optogenetics.

The brains of mice were inserted with optic fibres for passing pulses of light to their brains. This neuromodulation process is called optogenetics and it made neurons called Dentate gyrus (DG) or CA1 respond to light.                      

The mice linked a gentle environment with an obnoxious experience which, was faced by it in another situation after the light pulses were passed to their brains.

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This research was conducted by the researchers of RIKEN-MIT Center for Neural Circuit Genetics led by Xu Liu and Steve Ramurez.

The report is published in Science Mag and it asserts that this technique could be used in the future for analysing how false memories arise in humans.

Neurons of mice were conditioned in this experiment and each neuron was made to respond to light. Like mice, memories in humans too are compiled in cells and these cells get reconstructed when we recollect any experience.

"In the English language there are only 26 letters, but the combinations of letters make unlimited words and sentences, this is also true for memories," Dr. Liu told BBC in an interview.

Dr. Liu also compared memories to a continuously changing photograph. Everytime we remember or think something we are likely to make alterations in our existing memory.

Mice are considered to be good neurological models and their brains are very similar to human brains in structure and systems.

"If mice had Hollywood, this would be 'Inception' for them," said one of the lead researchers, MIT neuroscientist Steve Ramirez according to a report by the Washington Post.

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