RE: [>Htech] NEUROSCIENCE: Boosting Working Memory

From: Josh Martin (
Date: Tue Jan 02 2001 - 07:52:31 MST

> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> []On Behalf Of Anders Sandberg
> Sent: Saturday, December 30, 2000 9:48 PM
> To:
> Cc:;;
> Subject: Re: [>Htech] NEUROSCIENCE: Boosting Working Memory
> writes:
> >
> >
> > NEUROSCIENCE: Boosting Working Memory
> ...
> > This anatomical organization leads to an obvious strategy for
> > improving working memory: increasing the amount of acetylcholine in
> > synapses. That this strategy works is demonstrated by Furey et al. (2)
> Ha! What did I say at Extro3?! And Transvision 1,2 and 3?!!
> Acetylcholine is the key to EVERYTHING!! Muhahaha! (Sorry, it is three
> in the morning and I have been trying to understand spin glass theory)
> Actually, that ACh is involved in this way is nothing truly
> unexpected, but we need better control of it to really modulate memory
> and perhaps attention well. The interesting thing here is that it is
> apparently involved with *working* memory, which is definitely going
> to add some more fuel to the debate about what distinguishes different
> memory systems from each other. Is it just the timespan of storage, or
> do they have different architectures? This study seem to imply that
> ACh acts by modifying the input to the frontal working memory systems,
> possibly in an attentional manner. This is very nice and a bit
> unexpected (at least to me), but still leaves the issue of what
> determines the frontal working memory capacity and how much it can be
> modulated.

That ACh is involved in attention, and therefore working memory, is not a
new concept. The lab in which I work has been investigating the relation
for years. Do a search for Martin Sarter or J. P. Bruno, ACh and attention,
and you'll get a lot of papers. I can give you the best review articles to
look at. Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors are currently the only approved
therapy for alzheimers, which most definitely involves memory degredation.
The only problem is, it is a modulator, only having effect when combined
with other inputs in the frontal and prefrontal cortexes, so merely
increasing the level of ACh usually does squat. I can go into much detail
about the ACh system if you want, but it would bore most of the list
members. Let me know if I can provide anything for you.


> Sorry for the rambling, but I'm definitely low on ACh right now. I'll
> sleep on the article and see what I can find out...
> --
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Anders Sandberg Towards Ascension!
> GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

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