Our fond or fearful memories — that first kiss or a bump in the night — leave memory traces that we may conjure up in the remembrance of things past, complete with time, place and all the sensations of the experience. Neuroscientists call these traces memory engrams.
But are engrams conceptual, or are they a physical network of neurons in the brain? In a new MIT study, researchers used optogenetics to show that memories really do reside in very specific brain cells, and that simply activating a tiny fraction of brain cells can recall an entire memory — explaining, for example, how Marcel Proust could recapitulate his childhood from the aroma of a once-beloved madeleine cookie.
“We demonstrate that behavior based on high-level cognition, such as the expression of a specific memory, can be generated in a mammal by highly specific physical activation of a specific small subpopulation of brain cells, in this case by light,” says Susumu Tonegawa, the Picower Professor of Biology and Neuroscience at MIT and lead author of the study reported online today in the journal Nature. “This is the rigorously designed 21st-century test of Canadian neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield’s early-1900s accidental observation suggesting that mind is based on matter.”
In that famous surgery, Penfield treated epilepsy patients by scooping out parts of the brain where seizures originated. To ensure that he destroyed only the problematic neurons, Penfield stimulated the brain with tiny jolts of electricity while patients, who were under local anesthesia, reported what they were experiencing. Remarkably, some vividly recalled entire complex events when Penfield stimulated just a few neurons in the hippocampus, a region now considered essential to the formation and recall of episodic memories.Cathryn Delude in Medicalxpress. Here
How to retain Quran in memory
And a video on Preservation of the Quran, Hadith and Human Memory
Six steps to enhance memory
The capacity of memory in the brain to store, process and recall information is truly a wondrous blessing of Allah. We use our memory to gain beneficial knowledge; we also use our memory to recall the mistakes we’ve made in the past and learn from them to become better.
Many associate aging with memory loss, but it doesn’t have to be that way as demonstrated by +80 grandparents who complete memorization of The Qur’an! The following are some tips to strengthen your memory:
• Use it or Lose it
Treat you brain as a muscle – if you want to keep it fit and agile, you have to use it. Reading books, memorizing Qur’an, memorizing beneficial knowledge, and prayer are all the best way for Muslims to exercise their mind. The sense of being closer to Allah (The Exalted) will also protect us from depression which has negative effects on the mind. If you like, you could also try other academic exercises or mental challenges for fun.Prductive Muslim. Here
• Brain Food
A well-balanced diet is beneficial to keep your memory at its best. A recent study conducted in France has found that use of olive oil improves visual memory and verbal fluency. The virtue of the olive is also mentioned in The Qur’an, and Allah (The All-Wise) takes an oath by this special food (95:1). Foods that contain high omega-3 content, such as salmon, are also important for the memory and brain function. Furthermore, your memory needs adequate sugar and vitamins that most of that will naturally be in your diet (if it’s not, try honey, dates, blueberries, and almonds).
• Healthy Body for a Healthy Mind
Physical exercises, especially aerobic ones, are beneficial to keep the mind alert and healthy. If you can’t do aerobic exercises, the good news is that a moderate amount of walking on daily basis can keep the mind healthy too. Indeed, walking for most people is pretty easy to maintain as a regular activity (even taking the stairs instead of the elevator exercises your body).
Taking a nap improves memory and mood, promotes physical well-being, and sharpen senses. Napping has many benefits so taking a 15-30 minute before or after Zhuhr should significantly affect your intellectual performance, energy level, and plus – it’s sunnah!