Recently, while thinking about my article this month, I thought of a movie I watched a long time ago. 50 First Dates. It is a romantic comedy movie known as "50 First Dates" in our country. I just sat back and watched it. I think many of you have watched the movie, but for those who haven't, it may contain some spoilers.
In the movie, the lead character named Lucy (Drew Barrymore) suffers permanent brain damage and loses her short-term memory as a result of an unfortunate accident. All the memories he had after the accident stay with him until he falls asleep at night. When he wakes up in the morning, he goes back to the day when the amnesia started. Reliving each day, Lucy forgets the people she met and all she did. Henry (Adam Sandler) falls in love with Lucy after seeing her and tries to make her fall in love with him every day.
In the movie, the new information that Lucy can't remember as a result of her short-term memory is scientifically true. A short-term memory loss called Anterograde Amnesia. In worse cases, patients are also featured in the movie. The character of “10 Seconds Tom”, who can remember his experiences for 10 seconds, is a character that reflects reality.
I would like to remind you of a book by Dr. Oliver Sacks. In his book Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks, a doctor who has devoted 40 years to studying the human brain, he describes the sensitivity to music developed by people whose brains have been damaged after an accident. Again, in the book, he mentions that patients who have completely lost their memory remember music.
Well, have you ever wondered how alzheimer, parkinson, dementia and amnesia patients you see around you or on social media, or patients with damaged parts of their brains remember music and why they don't forget it?
What happens in our brains when we listen to our favorite songs? We know that the music that accompanies our memories activates some parts of our brain. But how is it stored?
As human beings, we are constantly learning after being born. We learn to eat, walk, read, write, speak, dress, love, get angry, drive, write code, in short, live. Since we do not forget this information, we lead our lives in a healthy way. Of course, the brain does not record all the information it learns during the day for a long time. Let's imagine a house with many rooms. The scientific world cannot yet say how many rooms, how many floors and how big this house is. What if we could express it like a computer? How many terabits is your brain? In this house, information is processed and stored in different rooms. There's a section that puts it all together, puts it in order so that we remember before and after the events, that has access to the important rooms. hippocampus in the name.
Perhaps the most important breakthrough in memory was made thanks to the patient HM, who was instrumental in breaking new ground in memory research. Namely, Henry Gustav Molaison. HM started having epileptic seizures after a bicycle accident at the age of nine, and then his condition gradually worsened. When school and work life began to be negatively affected by this situation, William Scoville and his friends cut out the seahorse-shaped part of the hippocampus and the tissue just around it from both the right and left hemispheres of HM's brain.
The operation was successful in terms of its purpose; Scoville cut out the tissue he wanted. In addition, the surgery was very effective in preventing HM's epileptic seizures. However, an unexpected and extraordinary side effect of the surgery emerged. HM could not remember anything in his life after surgery.
Doctor Milner, on the other hand, stated the importance of the hippocampus by saying, "If HM can only remember for a short time, then the hippocampus that was surgically removed from his brain plays a role in the formation of long-term memory."
An article by Milner published in 1962 became one of the most important milestones in memory in the scientific world. In this work, Milner gives HM his reflection with a pencil from the mirror.
He drew the shape of a star he saw. It was very difficult until HM drew the star the first time. The next day, Milner asked HM to do the same again. HM started to draw the star as if it was the first time in his life. But with each passing day, HM started to draw the star more easily. He even said, "This was easier than I expected," confirming that the experience of drawing stars was somehow memorized without realizing it.
These results prove for the first time in history that the brain uses different systems to create new memories.
The different rooms of the house I mentioned above…
Today, he knows that one of these systems is the system that records names, faces, new experiences and events and recalls them when necessary. open memory we call it. This memory is located in the medial temporal region of the brain and especially in to the hippocampus is based.
implicit memory is created by other systems in the brain. It is the product of implicit memory systems that someone who learned to ride a bicycle or play any musical instrument years ago can still ride a bicycle or play a musical instrument years later without falling.
In the formation of this type of memory, the brain striatum, neocortex, amygdala ve cerebellum We know that the regions we call play a role, says scientist Karaçay.
So where is our musical memory stored so that even if we are sick or lose our memory, we do not forget the music we listen to, especially the music we love. If the parts of our brain related to memory are damaged as a result of an accident, can we recall our memories through music?
Irregular movements in the muscular system of a Parkinson's patient are relieved when a favorite nostalgic music is listened to; Did you know that a hard walking Parkinson's patient can dance with light steps?
When personalized playlists are prepared for sick people, we owe them to the incredible power of music to remember their past memories while listening to these songs, to accompany the lyrics of the song. The brain does not forget the information learned with intense emotions, the information that is constantly repeated. If we listen to music while learning something, if we listen to music with the person we fall in love with, if we listen to the songs we love frequently and keep accumulating our memories, those music stays with us in our memories when there is nostalgia.
A case from the book Musicophilia by Dr. Oliver Sacks Clive WearingHe couldn't remember anything about the cat before the 1985 accident that completely destroyed his hippocampus and damaged his temporal lobe. Clive also had anterograde amnesia. He couldn't produce new memories either, he lived completely stuck in the moment. However, he was able to accompany the choir with the piano while singing. How did Clive Wearing, who could not remember anything else, remember music?
When you remember what something you saw before looked like, you are using your occipital lobe, which is related to vision. When you remember what you thought before, you are using your frontal lobe. When you think about your own past or your own future, you use multiple brain regions, including both the temporal and frontal lobes. All these different events take place in the temporal lobes of the brain to form a memory. hippocampus are brought together in a particular region called
Studies on memory show that when we have a certain experience, nerve cells that are stimulated together form long-lasting connections, and after a while, these nerve cells are stimulated together and remembering occurs. New experiences cause new connections to be added to existing ones in these systems of nerve cells.
Elizabeth L Johnson ve Francine FooIn 's article, researchers showed that in studies on the brain, MRI studies proved that the part of the brain that works on memory, the part where our favorite songs are memorized, is damaged much later. If you want to see it, you can see the photos of these sections in the link in the resources section.
While we are creating our memories, listening to the most touching, emotionally stimulating music, different parts of our brain are busy because while you are listening to music, memories come to your mind, what you have learned, your past or feelings you have never experienced, your dreams, your name, your child or your love. Here, our brain takes and places all these in other rooms of the house and is recorded in our memories with the cooperation of the hippocampus, temporal lobe and amygdala. While listening, especially as we listen to the music we love over and over again, the memories become permanent, of course, it becomes harder to forget the music every time because, as all researchers say, the part where the music is kept is the part of our brain that is damaged the last time.
While some of us burst into tears listening to a symphony, another of us closes his ears and grimaces. People learn, love, grow old with their emotions…
When you hear a melody, the nerve cells that fire and communicate in your brain can remind you of everything you forgot.
Looking back, I hope that Music will always remind us of good memories and that its incredible power will always remain in our memories.