Animal Loses Head But Remembers Everything

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Animal Loses Head But Remembers Everything

Postby Jesse » Fri Jan 03, 2014 8:41 pm

These worms can regenerate their entire bodies from a single cell, and once they finish regenerating, their working memory stays in tact. Craziness.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2013/12/31/258399090/animal-loses-head-but-remembers-everything

"What we do know is that memory can be stored outside the brain — presumably in other body cells — so that [memories] can get imprinted onto the new brain as it regenerates."
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Re: Animal Loses Head But Remembers Everything

Postby Simon E. » Fri Jan 03, 2014 8:48 pm

There's hope for me yet.
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Re: Animal Loses Head But Remembers Everything

Postby dharmagoat » Fri Jan 03, 2014 8:54 pm

Jesse wrote:These worms can regenerate their entire bodies from a single cell, and once they finish regenerating, their working memory stays in tact. Craziness.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2013/12/31/258399090/animal-loses-head-but-remembers-everything

"What we do know is that memory can be stored outside the brain — presumably in other body cells — so that [memories] can get imprinted onto the new brain as it regenerates."

One thing that needs to be made clear is that these worms do not retain their memory when regenerated from a single cell, but only when their heads are removed.

This is not so surprising when it is remembered that such simple organisms do not have a centralised nervous system, that is, their 'brain' is not just in their head. And in fact, even in humans, our most basic reflexes are activated within our spinal column.

Another point to remember is that all organisms generate body parts from single cells during their embryonic stage, the difference is that these worms never lose this ability.
Last edited by dharmagoat on Fri Jan 03, 2014 8:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Animal Loses Head But Remembers Everything

Postby dharmagoat » Fri Jan 03, 2014 8:55 pm

Simon E. wrote:There's hope for me yet.

:smile:
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Re: Animal Loses Head But Remembers Everything

Postby Tenzin & Söpa » Fri Jan 03, 2014 9:43 pm

After the team verified that the worms had memorized where to find food, they chopped off the worms’ heads and let them regrow, which took two weeks.

Then the team showed the worms with the regrown heads where to find food, essentially a refresher course of their light training before decapitation.

Subsequent experiments showed that the worms remembered where the light spot was, that it was safe, and that food could be found there. The worms’ memories were just as accurate as those worms who had never lost their heads.


I'm confused. How can they conclude the worms remembered that light = food, if after chopping off the worms' heads, the scientists showed the worms once again where the food was?
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Re: Animal Loses Head But Remembers Everything

Postby Sigh » Fri Jan 03, 2014 10:10 pm

Simon E. wrote:There's hope for me yet.

LOL! - i know how you feel mate.
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Re: Animal Loses Head But Remembers Everything

Postby dharmagoat » Fri Jan 03, 2014 10:15 pm

Tenzin & Söpa wrote:
After the team verified that the worms had memorized where to find food, they chopped off the worms’ heads and let them regrow, which took two weeks.

Then the team showed the worms with the regrown heads where to find food, essentially a refresher course of their light training before decapitation.

Subsequent experiments showed that the worms remembered where the light spot was, that it was safe, and that food could be found there. The worms’ memories were just as accurate as those worms who had never lost their heads.


I'm confused. How can they conclude the worms remembered that light = food, if after chopping off the worms' heads, the scientists showed the worms once again where the food was?

The experiment changed the worms natural behaviour of avoiding light by attracting them into the light with food. When the worms regenerated their heads they continued (with a little help) to come out into the light to find the food, i.e., after some 'reminding' they 'remembered' that where there is light there is food.

I agree that it sounds less convincing when described like that.
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Re: Animal Loses Head But Remembers Everything

Postby reddust » Fri Jan 03, 2014 10:53 pm

I think I know why worms can remember things like this. This may apply to all us beings that have DNA. Scientist have found two codes within our DNA. One code writes instructions on how to make proteins, the other code is instructs how genes are controlled. I bet there are other languages hidden as well...so exciting!
http://www.washington.edu/news/2013/12/ ... etic-code/
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Re: Animal Loses Head But Remembers Everything

Postby Jesse » Fri Jan 03, 2014 11:27 pm

dharmagoat wrote:One thing that needs to be made clear is that these worms do not retain their memory when regenerated from a single cell, but only when their heads are removed.

This is not so surprising when it is remembered that such simple organisms do not have a centralised nervous system, that is, their 'brain' is not just in their head. And in fact, even in humans, our most basic reflexes are activated within our spinal column.

Another point to remember is that all organisms generate body parts from single cells during their embryonic stage, the difference is that these worms never lose this ability.


One thing that needs to be made clear is that these worms do not retain their memory when regenerated from a single cell, but only when their heads are removed.


Where did you see this information? I didn't see it in the article, though the experiment was done by chopping only the heads off.

According to: http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Planaria_nervous_system#Composition_of_neurons
Planarians are known as not only one of the most primitive animals which have a brain, but also as animals that have high regenerative ability. They can regenerate an entire body, including a brain, within 5 days after amputation from a small piece of the body in which no brain tissues remain. The process of regeneration of the brain has been extensively analysed by whole-mount staining. The process of brain regeneration can be divided into five steps (Cebrià et al., 2002, Agata et al., 2008):


Also from: http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Planaria_nervous_system#Composition_of_neurons
Planarians (suborder Tricladida, phylum Platyhelminthes) are considered to be among the most primitive animals to have developed a central nervous system.
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Re: Animal Loses Head But Remembers Everything

Postby dharmagoat » Fri Jan 03, 2014 11:50 pm

Jesse wrote:
dharmagoat wrote:
One thing that needs to be made clear is that these worms do not retain their memory when regenerated from a single cell, but only when their heads are removed.

Where did you see this information? I didn't see it in the article, though the experiment was done by chopping only the heads off.

There is no mention in the article of the worms retaining their memory after regenerating from a single cell.

Jesse wrote:According to: http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Planaria_nervous_system#Composition_of_neurons
Planarians are known as not only one of the most primitive animals which have a brain, but also as animals that have high regenerative ability. They can regenerate an entire body, including a brain, within 5 days after amputation from a small piece of the body in which no brain tissues remain. The process of regeneration of the brain has been extensively analysed by whole-mount staining. The process of brain regeneration can be divided into five steps (Cebrià et al., 2002, Agata et al., 2008):

Also from: http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Planaria_nervous_system#Composition_of_neurons
Planarians (suborder Tricladida, phylum Platyhelminthes) are considered to be among the most primitive animals to have developed a central nervous system.

Point taken, they do have a central nervous system, albeit a very primitive one.

Edit: I need to be a bit more careful when stating facts.
Last edited by dharmagoat on Fri Jan 03, 2014 11:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Animal Loses Head But Remembers Everything

Postby Tenzin & Söpa » Fri Jan 03, 2014 11:51 pm

dharmagoat wrote:This is not so surprising when it is remembered that such simple organisms do not have a centralised nervous system, that is, their 'brain' is not just in their head.



Apparently, these worms, do: :reading:

The team turned to flatworms because, despite their relative simplicity, they have many of the same organs and body organization as people: a brain and nervous system, bilateral symmetry, and even some of the same behaviors.

Flatworms “also have many of the same neurotransmitters as we do, and have been shown in older studies to remember complex tasks,” Levin said.

Yet unlike people, these worms have a remarkable ability to regenerate organs and body parts, including their brains—making them perfect research subjects.


Source


EDITED TO ADD: Oops, we crossposted =)
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Re: Animal Loses Head But Remembers Everything

Postby dharmagoat » Fri Jan 03, 2014 11:59 pm

Still, it is clear that not all of their memory is located in their tiny little worm brain.

In the same way that not all of our neural processing occurs in our brain.
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Re: Animal Loses Head But Remembers Everything

Postby tatpurusa » Sat Jan 04, 2014 12:55 am

dharmagoat wrote:There is no mention in the article of the worms retaining their memory after regenerating from a single cell.


True, but it may be due to the fact that no study has been made regarding regeneration from one cell and memory retention.
I have seen in other articles that regeneration of their entire organism is possible from any randomly chosen body cell,
but these experiments have not investigated the phenomenon of memory retention in those regenerated worms.
To conclude that it is not possible without having ever tried or investigated it is not quite right.
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Re: Animal Loses Head But Remembers Everything

Postby dharmagoat » Sat Jan 04, 2014 1:09 am

tatpurusa wrote:
dharmagoat wrote:There is no mention in the article of the worms retaining their memory after regenerating from a single cell.

True, but it may be due to the fact that no study has been made regarding regeneration from one cell and memory retention.
I have seen in other articles that regeneration of their entire organism is possible from any randomly chosen body cell,
but these experiments have not investigated the phenomenon of memory retention in those regenerated worms.
To conclude that it is not possible without having ever tried or investigated it is not quite right.

Logically speaking, I agree. It would be extremely unlikely to occur, but that is no reason not to try it out.
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Re: Animal Loses Head But Remembers Everything

Postby Wayfarer » Sat Jan 04, 2014 1:15 am

I think there must be something similar involved in migratory animals, in that the 'memory', if that is what it is, that guides them back to the various places they go to must be somehow embedded in their tissues.

Case in point is migratory eels in Sydney Australia.

The eels of Centennial Park (on the near east side of the city) may be among the city's least attractive native residents but the journey they take to breed is nothing less than astonishing.

Once in its life, every eel in Sydney gets the urge to reproduce.

When conditions are right - usually during a rainy autumn - they set off from Centennial Park and cross into Randwick Racecourse. The eels slither part of the way over land but mostly stick to stormwater drains and other water courses.

They continue south through the densely populated suburb of Kensington, across the Australian Golf Course, into the swampy Eastlakes area and across the Lakes Golf Course.

As the long-finned eels get closer to Botany Bay, their gills begin to change in preparation for saltwater and their eyes enlarge. From the golf course, they travel through swamps alongside Southern Cross Drive before entering Botany Bay at Sydney Airport's third runway.

That journey seems remarkable enough for an eel that may have spent up to 30 years (for the females) in the same sleepy pond, but it is only the prelude to a 2000-kilometre swim to New Caledonia.

The eels breed in extremely deep tropical waters in the Coral Sea, with females laying up to 20 million eggs. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the exhausted adult eels die once they have spawned their offspring.

But then another remarkable thing happens - when the eggs hatch they begin to float south on ocean currents.

They start as small gum leaf-shaped larvae, growing into see-through ''glass eels'' - a stage that protects them from predators in the sea - before becoming juvenile elvers as they reach the east coast of Australia.

Driven by instinct, the eels locate Botany Bay, swim back up through the ponds, across the golf courses, through the drainpipes, across Royal Randwick and then into Centennial Park to start a life in the shadows of the lillies.


Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/environment/conse ... z2pNs1qWgx

Personally I think there is some mechanism, not yet understood, by which memories are made available to biological organisms generally. I'm sure it is not something in the brain alone, as very simple creatures don't navigate by abstractions - they simply 'know'. The story says 'by instinct', but it's a marvellous thing, whatever it is.
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Re: Animal Loses Head But Remembers Everything

Postby dharmagoat » Sat Jan 04, 2014 1:23 am

jeeprs wrote:Personally I think there is some mechanism, not yet understood, by which memories are made available to biological organisms generally. I'm sure it is not something in the brain alone, as very simple creatures don't navigate by abstractions - they simply 'know'. The story says 'by instinct', but it's a marvellous thing, whatever it is.

I was wondering if it may be some kind of biochemical conditioning, not involving neural pathways at all.
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Re: Animal Loses Head But Remembers Everything

Postby Jesse » Sat Jan 04, 2014 1:33 am

'Memories' pass between generations
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-25156510
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Re: Animal Loses Head But Remembers Everything

Postby dharmagoat » Sat Jan 04, 2014 1:44 am

Jesse wrote:'Memories' pass between generations
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-25156510

An interesting article.

I expect that this would have more relevance in explaining the migration of animals rather than the retaining of memory in regenerating worms. But who knows?
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