Brain MRI shows the key to forgotten memories

August 1, 2006

People may permanently store memories even if they cannot consciously recall them, according to a study by Duke researchers.

People may permanently store memories even if they cannot consciously recall them, according to a study by Duke researchers.

Roberto Cabeza, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology and neuroscience, and colleagues used functional MRI to map brain activity in 16 subjects exposed to "new" and "old" experiences. Subjects read a list of words, then underwent scanning while reading another list that mixed words previously viewed with words never seen before. FMRI showed heightened activity mainly in a front portion of the medial temporal lobes when subjects correctly identified a new word. However, fMRI displayed activity in the lobes' rear portion when subjects viewed an old word, even if they failed to remember it.

The finding may help develop a tool for identifying lost memories, and future possible applications may include lie detection, the researchers said. Their findings were published in the May 24 edition of the Journal of Neuroscience.

http:// diagnosticimaging.com