Tech Today w/ Ken May

Starved brains kill memory-making to survive

Posted by kenmay on January - 28 - 2013

“Thanks for the memories, but I’d prefer a bite to eat.” UFL.edu As the organ responsible for maintaining equilibrium in the body and the most energy-demanding of all the organs, the brain takes a lot of the body’s energy allocation. So when food is in short supply, the brain is the organ that is fed first. But what happens when there isn’t enough food to fulfill the high-energy needs of the brain and survival is threatened? The brain does not simply self-allocate available resources on the fly; instead it “trims the fat” by turning off entire processes that are too costly. Researchers from CNRS in Paris created a true case of do-or-die, starving flies to the point where they must choose between switching off costly memory formation or dying. When flies are starved, their brains will block the formation of aversive long-term memories, which depend on costly protein synthesis and require repetitive learning. But that doesn’t mean all long-term memories are shut down. Appetitive long-term memories, which can be formed after a single training, are enhanced during a food shortage. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Starved brains kill memory-making to survive

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