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Studying an Unforgettable Type of Memory

Narrator: This is Science Today. Neuroscientists at the University of California, Irvine are studying people with hyperthymesia, an incredible type of memory in which subjects can recall every moment of life from about the age of 10. Dr. Larry Cahill, an associate professor of neurobiology and behavior says the scientific potential of this type of study may provide new insight into how the brain stores memories.

Cahill: If we find in these people brain structures or genetic make-up or patterns of activation that are wildly different from healthy controls and that maybe are not what we would have thought of, and that could very easily happen. As a matter of fact, I think that's what's going to happen - that we're going to uncover things about the brain in these people that are really going to make us go back to the drawing board. That's the real potential and that's what I'm so excited about.

Narrator: So far, Cahill and his colleague, Dr. James McGaugh, have studied three people with this type of memory and their careful screening process has identified several more potential subjects. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.