Narrator: This is Science Today. Memory formation is thought to involve a strengthening of the communication between neurons in the hippocampus, a region of the brain known as the memory center. Now, researchers at the University of California , San Francisco have gained further insight into this process. Pamela England, an assistant professor of pharmaceutical chemistry says their study focused on what are called AMPA receptors.
England : We know that those receptors are critical for forming memories and what's critical about them is their movement outside of the synapse, which is the connection point between neurons, moving from outside of the synapse into the synapse.
Narrator: The prevailing view has been that receptors at the synapse are constantly being replaced by stores inside the cell, but England found this is not the case; that the synaptic receptors are pretty stable – lasting about 16 hours before they are replaced.
England : So, hopefully we've just gotten one step closer to understanding memory. We don't know everything, but we made an important correct step in the right direction towards understanding what it is.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.