Use it or Lose it

By: Braden P.


  Okay I know what you’re thinking, “This is going to be just another boring paper of facts on the ‘stupid’ brain.”  Well I can tell you that this paper might just be the least boring thing you’ve ever read. And, what you’re reading isn’t about the “stupid” brain it’s about one of the more important things in your brain, Memory.

  Let me start you off with the basics. Without memory the world would be in a never ending now, you probably wouldn’t remember the last few words you read. Have you ever woken up right before your mom or dad comes in to wake you up, or right before your alarm clock goes off. Well that’s your biological clock working. And, your memory helps to remember when you’re supposed to wake up. But without memory we would forget when to wake up or for adults to wake their children. You’d also forget what your alarm means.

Sensory Memory

  Now it’s time for sensory memory. Sensory memory is the 1st stage of memory. It’s a stage of memory that is memory that lasts up to 3 seconds but that’s long for sensory memory. Sensory memory usually lasts just a fraction of a second. It is immediate memory and it includes the five senses. Smell is the most trigger for sensory memory. Those triggers create visual effects in your imagination from long term memory.

Short Term Memory

  Now let’s talk about short term memory. To start out short term memory is just like it sounds it holds memory for a short time, up to 20 seconds, then it either forgets the memory, or passes into long term memory. Without short term memory you would most likely forget the beginning of this sentence by the time you reached the end.  Short term memory happens mostly in the hippocampus. The hippocampus sits deep in the temporal lobe. And, all memories have to pass through the hippocampus to officially become a memory but it doesn’t get a reward or anything for officially becoming a memory. Also, like sensory memory short term memory has a limited capacity, it can hold 5-9 memory’s at once. There is also a part of short term memory, called working memory. Working memory remembers something like a phone number to dial it then it forgets it.

Long Term Memory

Long term memory is a very unique stage of memory. It has an unlimited storage, and no matter what it remembers anything forever. It’s like when you learn to ride a bike, don’t do it for 20 years and try to ride it again and do it perfectly. But the memory has to go through L.T.P. first. L.T.P. stands for Long Term Potentiation. L.T.P. is a process that memories have to go through to get from short term memory to long term memory. It means to promote or strengthen. For L.T.P. to work a chemical messenger (one of them is nitric oxide) must travel from the receiving cell back to the transmitting cell, reinforcing the bond between the two cells. And, it’s so unstable it only lasts a few seconds. Also to increase long term memory it may be the development of new neurons.

Memory Loss

  Memory loss, it’s something that happens to everyone. Even though you say “I’m going to remember everything forever,” well you’re not. Everyone eventually starts to lose memory one way or another. As we age our prefrontal cortex starts to diminish, and our prefrontal cortex holds memory in our brain, not all of it but some of it. Also, as we get older our brains make fewer neurons. But there’s a medicine drug called guanfacine that can amplify the circuits in the prefrontal cortex therefore amplifying your memory there.

The Ending

  To conclude memory is probably one of the most important things in your brain. There are also different types of memory you’ve learned about Sensory, Short term, Long term. So like I said before this was probably the least boring article you’ve read yet, right. Well I thought it was and if you didn’t, go ahead and read it again because you probably missed something. Thank you for reading my article and have a nice day.


Works Cited

Daniels, Patricia. Brain 100 Things You Didn't Know. New York: Time Home, 2012. Print.

Hickman, Faith. "Why We Remember and Forget." Brain Matters: 16-17. Print.

Hudmon, Andy. Learning and Memory. New York: Info Base, 2006. Print.

Kluger, Jeffery. Your Brain: A User's Guide. New York: Time, 2009. Print.

Treays, Rebecca. Brain. London: Usborne, 2004. Print.

Winston, Robert. What Goes on in My Head. New York: DK, 2010. Print.

Woodward, John. How to Be a Genius. New York: DK, 2009. Print.

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