igoddard at erols.mom
Fri Apr 5 22:21:27 EST 2002
On Fri, 29 Mar 2002, "Simon Laub" <silanian at mail.tele.dk> wrote:
>> Scientists Enhance Fruit Fly Memory Using Mouse Protein:
>> New Clue To Fundamental Brain Mechanism
>You then wonder why evolution haven't come up with this trick?
>What (if any) is the downside for a fly with a boosted PKM level?
>Too many irrelevant memories?
>Would you be able to boost PKM levels at times when you know that some
>important learning is going to take place, and then bring the levels down
>with the effect of keeping the important memories for a lifetime, but having
>less important memories fade in the usual way?
IAN: Indeed, the Apollo missions were no hoax:
You ask good questions about memory. It seems
to me like a good rule of thumb that nature
knows best... the way things tend to be is
the result of x million years of trial and
error. So if nature can create perfect memory,
there must be some reason that we are all not
born with perfect memory. In short, there may
be some advantage to having an average memory.
I guess if we can survive and reproduce with
the degree of memory we have, why bother to
evolve even more elaborate memory systems?
Along this line of inquiry, the following shows
that nature can produce almost-perfect memory,
and that such memory may have a genetic basis:
Italy Mind Master May Hold Key to Memory Gene
Thu Apr 4, 5:21 PM ET
By Stephanie Holmes
ROME (Reuters) - An Italian scientist said on Thursday that he
believes a 24-year-old's amazing memory may one day reveal the
secrets of recall and help to find the memory gene.
Gianni Golfera is the third generation of his family to have a
gift for remembering. His grandfather and father are both able
to recall vast swathes of information with ease.
"In the future I think we will be able to study him and see if
there is some kind of genetic imprint," said neurobiologist
Antonio Malgaroli, based at the San Raffaele hospital in Milan.
Malgaroli and his research team hope to identify the individual
genes that code for memory.
The DNA that makes up genes writes the recipe for the proteins
that make everything from muscle tissue to hair. Scientific
research has concentrated on genes linked with the decline
of memory through diseases like Alzheimer's.
"If we could gather together a hundred people with the same
memory capacity as him and study their genetic pattern we could
see if there was some kind of clustering," he said.
But Golfera, from the northern city of Ravenna, says that, apart
from his relatives, he has yet to meet anyone like him.
His grandfather remembers entire volumes of classical texts and
his father, a pilot, has no need for maps when flying.
Golfera has been stunning people with feats of recall from a
very early age and developed his own memory method after
translating a Latin 1582 text at the tender age of 12.
"I translated Giordano Bruno's treatise from Latin on the art
of memory and began to develop my own style," Golfera said.
The memory technique means Golfera simply has no need to carry
around a diary or consult an address book.
"I can remember the names of 100 people just introduced to me,
recite word for word a two-hour speech and if you give me a
numbered list of 1,000 words I can list the words in order or
tell you where they are placed," he said.
Golfera's method of recall involves linking numbers or words
to a familiar mental place.
"It is a different way of thinking--each concept is translated
into pictures and these are inserted into a pre-memorized place.
It's like a system of rooms which hold the information," he
Malgaroli, who uses Golfera as an example of the potential power
of the mind, says he hopes minds like Golfera's will bring science
one step closer to understanding memory.
"We would need to identify the genes for memory, the key proteins
involved. We are still a long way off but I hope we might get
there in the next couple of decades," he added.
"To lengthen thy life, lessen thy meals." Ben Franklin
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