According to a new study, the brain blocks the ability for creating new memories shortly after waking in order to prevent the disruption of the stabilization of memory consolidation that occurs during sleep. Bar-Ilan University scientists show that a protein synthesis dependent process blocks new learning just after waking, thereby preventing the disruption of memory stabilization which occurs during sleep. Throughout our waking lives we are exposed to a continuous stream of stimuli and experiences. Some of these experiences trigger the strengthening of connections between neurons in the brain, and begin the process of forming memories. However, these initial memory traces are fragile and only a small number will become long-term memories with the potential to last a lifetime. For this transition to occur, the brain must stabilize the memory traces through a process called consolidation.
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