If I learned anything in college, it was how to study. A long night before a final involved a steady dose of Xbox breaks, deep conversations with roommates, and probably a couple of gallons of Dr. Pepper. And I guess a few notes as well, maybe a book or two. Yeah, let’s go with that. Perhaps not the most efficient techniques, but they worked for me.
Somehow, with those study habits, I made it through without too many scratches, but I couldn’t tell you how. And now, research from Dr. Fernando Gomez-Pinilla’s lab at UCLA suggests that my diet may have been just as important as anything else. This study, published in the Journal of Physiology, describes how a steady diet high in fructose can impair normal learning and memory in rats.
Remember the days of floppy disks? Probably not fondly thanks to the advent of the glorious flash drive. Info is easily stored and just as easily accessed at any time, from anywhere. If only it were so easy to remember the name of that guy in that movie that you liked so much from last year.
What if you could get a sort of flash drive for your brain, designed to help improve your memory capabilities? Biomedical engineering may have the answer for you.
A group led by Dr. Theodore Berger of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, has created a microchip for the brain that, in rats, duplicates the neural signals associated with memory. This device, which works to reconnect damaged circuits in the brain, is detailed in their article in the June issue of the Journal of Neural Engineering.