Questions on memory storage...

Bill Skaggs bill at nsma.arizona.edu
Tue Aug 13 15:57:33 EST 1996


csorg at enteract.com (Chris sorg) writes:

   > I'm curious as to how the brain stores memory. As to specifics, I
   > know this is a pretty broad question with more theories than
   > answers, but I have a few specific questions in mind:
   >
   >   (1) Is the brain the ONLY place where memories are stored, or
   >	   can nerves throughout the body have memory? 

There is some evidence for a primitive kind of learning in the spinal
cord.  Not anywhere else outside the brain, as far as I know -- in
humans, at least.

   >   (2) Can nerve ganglia act as "small brains" for activities such
   >	   music playing and gymnastics, ie complex muscle movements?

In humans, the motor nerves come directly from the spinal cord, not
from peripheral ganglia.  Certainly there is a substantial amount of
complex processing inside the spinal cord.  The idea of nerve ganglia
acting as small brains may apply more directly to invertebrates, for
example the octupus, where as I understand it much of the
tentacle-control circuitry is peripheral.

   >   (3) Is the old, outdated idea of engrams back 'in' as a way of
   >	   viewing memory storage in the brain? 

The "engram" is simply the physical representation of memory in the
brain, and it is not an outdated idea.

   >   (4) Biological mechanisms for memory: are they neurochemical
   >	   changes, physiological changes (such as denser dendritic 
   >	   connections), both, or none of the above?

Almost certainly both.  For any sort of comprehensive answer, you'll
have to read a book.

	-- Bill



More information about the Neur-sci mailing list