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Medical Question of Memory and Brain usage.

  1. Apr 21, 2008 #1
    I would like to put my queries in the form of quesitons:

    1- Why are there differences in the intelligence level of people? Why is some person a genius and other a dumb of below-average intelligent?

    2- Is it possible to improve the memory?

    3- Is it possible to increase the brain usage? What effects the brain usage and memory?

    I've heard something about "Threads in brain". What's this all about. I hope medical fellows can help on it.

    Answers in details would be higly appreciated.

  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 21, 2008 #2


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    Welcome to PF, TheUmer.
    Brain research is still in its infancy, and various theories abound.
    One thing that I remember is that scientists were somewhat surprised when they dissected Einstein's brain. His grey matter was pretty much normal, but his glial cell population was much larger than average.
  4. Apr 21, 2008 #3
    Neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) and neuropil threads (NTs), the key signs of Alzheimer disease, are made of the microtubule-associated protein tau that has undergone modifications, including deamidation and isomerization on asparaginyl or aspartyl residues.
  5. Apr 21, 2008 #4


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    I thought that you were a cultural anthropologist, Patty. How do you keep coming up with all of these neurophysiological gems?
  6. Apr 21, 2008 #5
    Forensics my dear.
  7. Apr 21, 2008 #6


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    Ahhh... I wasn't aware that you went beyond the 'bone & tooth' stage of that. Cool.
  8. Apr 22, 2008 #7
    Umm, Hypatia, well I'm not a medical student so I must confess that I couldn't really get what you spoke about in your post.

    Could you please explain it in simple terms for a layman?? Plus my questions have not really been answered, are they?


    BTW, I, being a Maths-related fellow, do know that Hypatia was the first known woman mathematician. :wink:

    (Also do tell something about brain threads or if there is any such thing)
  9. Apr 22, 2008 #8
    Neuropil threads{brain threads} are made up of straight and paired helical filaments which have abnormal proteins. It has been suggested that the threads have a major role in the cognitive impairment.

    1. From birth defects and injury to the amount of nurturing, and a thousand reasons inbetween those, their is no simple answer.

    2. Exercise memory, varies sites on line have games to help you remember better.

    3. unknown, and my guesses would only be speculating at best.

    You may also want to search these forums, memory has been brought up a few times..
    if I remember correctly:redface:
  10. Apr 23, 2008 #9
    1- No one knows.

    2- Sure, concentration improves memory, caffeine improves memory.... Lots of things affect both short and long term memory, the problem is that we almost always have no idea why this is happening. This is the same story as with most chemicals that affect the brain.

    3- I'm not sure what you mean by "brain usage". There seems to be a pseudoscientific claim going around that we only use some small percentage of our brain at any given time and if we could only find a way to use more of it then we would, I don't know? be smarter? run faster? leap tall buildings in a single bound?

    Of course this is nonsense. While it is true that most of our brain isn't being used at any given time, this is because different parts of the brain are specialized for different tasks. Abnormally high activity levels are called seizures.
  11. Apr 24, 2008 #10
    Alright, talking about stimulants, is is right that certain drugs, marijuana maybe would be at top, actually enhance and stimulate the working/thinking power of brain or something like that?
  12. Apr 27, 2008 #11
    I just looked it up. Here's the abstract of a 2002 paper on the subject by Block et al:

    Effects of frequent marijuana use on memory-related regional cerebral blood flow.

    Block RI, O'Leary DS, Hichwa RD, Augustinack JC, Boles Ponto LL, Ghoneim MM, Arndt S, Hurtig RR, Watkins GL, Hall JA, Nathan PE, Andreasen NC

    It is uncertain whether frequent marijuana use adversely affects human brain function. Using positron emission tomography (PET), memory-related regional cerebral blood flow was compared in frequent marijuana users and nonusing control subjects after 26+ h of monitored abstention. Memory-related blood flow in marijuana users, relative to control subjects, showed decreases in prefrontal cortex, increases in memory-relevant regions of cerebellum, and altered lateralization in hippocampus. Marijuana users differed most in brain activity related to episodic memory encoding. In learning a word list to criterion over multiple trials, marijuana users, relative to control subjects, required means of 2.7 more presentations during initial learning and 3.1 more presentations during subsequent relearning. In single-trial recall, marijuana users appeared to rely more on short-term memory, recalling 23% more than control subjects from the end of a list, but 19% less from the middle. These findings indicate altered memory-related brain function in marijuana users.

    So, the upshot is: marijuana has some interesting effects on the brain which we don't really understand and seems to improve performance in a short-term memory task but impair performance at some longer-term memory tasks.
  13. Apr 27, 2008 #12
    I'm sure I had read a bit about marijuana affecting short term memory but not long term memory. I'll check my sources.
  14. Apr 27, 2008 #13


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    Have you ever been sober and tried to talk to someone f'd up on marijuana? Those Cheech and Chong movies are spot on.
  15. Apr 28, 2008 #14


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    1 - Why do you believe that geniuses are never dumb?

    2 - Mnemonic devices and frequent rechecking of facts and skills both with and without any mnemonic devices.

    3 - Mental and physical activity, systematic study, good nutrition and sleep habits; and avoid drugs as much as possible.
  16. May 4, 2008 #15


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    Quite the opposite. Ingestion of THC has a detrimental effect on the brain in terms of memory and learning. Do not use marijuana.
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