Many hands make light work declares the adage. Apparently, a similar phenomenon occurs with our brain cells. We all know about short term and long term memory. But not as many know about the form of short-term memory called working memory.
Working memory is what we need to function on a day to day basis. It helps us make decisions, learn, retrieve, and retain information needed daily. It represents higher level brain function than simple short term memory. Working memory also deteriorates quickly in those with dementia and brain diseases.
Until recently, it was thought single neurons were responsible for this specific type of short-term memory. But researchers found a new way of looking at these brain cells (neurons) in action via special microchip technology. What they found was many neurons were responsible and acted in combination to produce working memory functions.
This revolutionary discovery brings new information to the forefront of the mechanisms of working memory. It could potentially lead to new treatments for diseases ranging from Alzheimer’s Disease, autism, depression and attention deficit disorder.
It seems the more research is done into the marvelous organ of the brain, the more interesting correlations and collaborations are found. Not only between cells but also how the brain works in concert with our body in general. It lends more evidence to how our brain and body work together.
Our memories are not exclusively controlled by one type of cell as this study proves, nor is it impacted by just one bodily behavior. Many lifestyle behaviors influence how memory functions. Nutrition, exercise, sleep and socialization are but a few of the very important factors which contribute toward a healthy memory.
Just like the cells of our brain work together for working memory, our individual choices influence how our body and brain function as a whole. Let’s not pay attention to just one behavior or lifestyle. Let’s shift our individual lifestyle choices to make collective brain and memory wellness a priority.
We can impact our brain wellness by how we live. Let’s choose wisely so all our choices contribute toward making our moments memorable.
Matthew L. Leavitta, Florian Pieper, Adam J. Sachs, and Julio C. Martinez-Trujillo. Correlated variability modifies working memory fidelity in primate prefrontal neuronal ensembles. PNAS, 2017; 114 (12) DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1619949114