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How to predict memory strength

24 March 2010. Human memory strength can be predicted by looking at the relationship between single neuron activity and a particular brain waveform, as a study by Erin Schuman and colleagues published in the recent issue of the journal Nature reveals. The study sheds light on the mechanisms that underpin learning and memory, and establishes a direct relationship between physiological changes at the neural circuit-level and human behaviour.
Erin Schuman and colleagues analysed brain recordings taken from electrodes implanted in human epileptic patients as they performed a memory test. In particular, they looked at the timing of nerve impulses relative to the theta rhythm, an ongoing waveform of a particular frequency previously implicated in learning and memory. A tight coordination between the two predicted success in the memory task, they found.

Erin Schuman (Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, Frankfurt, Germany)
Tel: +49 69 506 820 1000; E-mail: schumane@brain.mpg.de

Further information about Erin Schuman's research