New Study Demonstrates That Humans Can Implant Memories for Speech Into Our Brains

A new songbird study demonstrates that memories can be implanted in the brain to teach vocalizations without any lessons.  This is vital to the way people can be taught new words.  Humans have to be taught the word through syllables until we learn and can comprehend that word.  This is how we learn speech. Some questions arise in this area though like how the brain encodes the memories from what the parents said so that the kids learning can mirror it and how kids with disabilities are affected by the language barrier/ how to get around it.  This new study regarding the songbirds is a big leap forward into the investigation towards how we can learn speech.  The new findings have no clues towards immediate solutions to these problems, but they direct us towards sources of problems so scientists know where to look to understand the language barrier of disabilities.  This is the first time that scientists can confirm knowing where to look for the encoded memories that cover everything speech to playing the trumpet. Eventually, these seemingly small discoveries could advance the human race magnificently once these scientists find out each part of speech development through the brain.

One new way to activate speech is through the activation of neurons. Scientists can do this through the process of optogenetics which involves light being used to control cells in living tissues.  The light can stimulate the length of the notes that the baby can sing through the length of light exposed to the newborn. The shorter the exposure, the shorter the note.  Like the study mentioned, the scientists utilized the zebra finch since their vocal developments stage for the most part matches the humans vocal development stage. The parents vocalize the words until the newborn memorizes each word.  Language based off of this memory can form after practicing this many times. The scientists controlled this experiment and taught the finches sounds successfully. These finches had no parents so they would not have been taught this otherwise and this is why the scientists looked into teaching these orphans.  Although, this successful study only taught the birds a small part of everything that it has to learn in its childhood. Still, we did make an important advance in figuring out how to use this new technology to help understand speech. It also helps open new ways to identify more parts of vocalization in the brain since the study only covered one tiny section.  Scientists hope to use this research to help learn vocalizations between motor and auditory regions of the brains so that they can help kids with autism or other conditions to learn speech just as quickly. This research is just a start, but in the far out future, it can help kids and people with mental conditions and that is huge for our future. To continue with the study of Dr. Roberts on his team, now, they are working on examining other brain regions that can affect language in order to understand every part of language.  This way, we can get closer to discovering how the whole picture of speech works and we can help these disadvantaged kids more easily which will change the future we live in.

This is relevant to our course material since we are learning about cells and the neuroglial cells in the brain need to receive and encode the material for the speech that they will learn.  This storage of information in the cells result from the transfer of information in the Extra Cellular Matrix which I learned about in anatomy and the cytoplasmic area which connect the different proteins in the cell.  This is stored inside the central vacuole which is in plants and vesicles in in animal cells. If humans can find out how this is possible, then we can change society.

About Mr. Mohn

Biology Teacher

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