There would appear to be other factors that also enter into the brain's ability to store and retrieve memories, such as having an adequate supply of various neuropeptides, including many of the same basic molecules which are involved in the emotions system. Any lack of certain neuropeptides will restrict memory function.
Diet would seem to play a role in determining an individual's intelligence level and memory capacity. Mentally retarded children were given 11 vitamins and eight minerals over an eight-month period, resulting in an average IQ increase of about 16 points, compared to a mean gain of 1.1 points in a control group.43...This is yet another example of how important, and indeed necessary, specific types of matter are for the basic operation of intelligence, and how a strong interdependence exists between matter and intelligence.
Certain neuropeptides appear to be more important than others in the memory storage process. Vasopressin is a neuropeptide that was found to triple the memory span of mice. One of its analogs, DDAVP, has been shown to increase memory capacity in both normal humans as well as victims of Alzheimer's disease. Arousal results in the release of various neuropeptides that appear to act as memory fixatives.44
Patients with Alzheimer's disease have been shown to benefit following the administration of acetylcholine-like drugs. Many will experience improved learning and memory. Even those patients who are severely demented to the point that they cannot dress themselves may improve to the point of resuming some ordinary activity.45
There are at least three basic theories as to how memories are encoded in the brain. Neural theories are based on the concept that there is an actual anatomical alteration of brain cells as a memory is encoded. This would seem to be true to the extent that new dendritic connections are formed and synaptic junction alterations are sustained as a memory is processed. There are biochemical theories based on apparent changes which occur in cellular molecular structures. Electrical theories have also been advanced which suggest that memories are recorded based on changes in the brain's electrical field.46...It is quite probable that all three play some part in the memory storage process.
Some claim there is evidence that memory of early childhood and even birth experiences is apparently stored in the unconscious. This has been suggested through the hypnosis of children as verified by their mothers' detailed recollections--also obtained by hypnosis--as well as by comparing detailed birth records with the memories of birth experiences. According to some researchers, the suggestion that the child's memories really come from the mother in the form of hints and other bits of information given over the years fails to account for the extremely personal feelings and thoughts, and their detailed descriptions, that are characteristic of birth reports.47...There are others who remain skeptical and believe that this concept has not withstood scientific scrutiny.
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