The Importance of Being Able to Forget

Australia’s Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health has been doing some groundbreaking research into memory, as well as how and why we forget things.

Do you have young children?  Do you repeatedly tell them not to do something?  Do they go and do it anyway?

Experts previously thought that babies and young children forget things more easily because their brains are not fully developed.  In fact, young children often recall events from their first year and even their first months.  (Meanwhile, adults have difficulty remembering anything from before the age of seven.)

Researchers now believe that babies and young children purposely forget things – such as falling down and minor injuries – to reduce the psychological effects of trauma.

Conversely, teenagers develop stubborn memories where they are sometimes unable to forget things.  This can lead to adolescent anxiety, depression and addiction – sometimes with symptoms as bad as post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD).

The brain is programmed to forget things naturally, in order to keep us healthy.  Unfortunately, some diseases alter this process.  In its research into Alzheimer’s disease, Florey has uncovered the precise hourly rate at which the disease develops.  They hope their work will lead to new treatment approaches.

Agilent Technologies is collaborating with Florey on its research into neurogenerative diseases.  Lead researcher Blaine Roberts is using our equipment to identify new biomarkers, including Agilent high-performance liquid chromatographs and a range of mass spectrometers.

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