Eric Kandel on the brain

The Neurophilosophy blog reposts a 21-minute interview with Erik Kandel, who won a Nobel Prize in 2000 for his work on learning and memory (see my comments on his book, In Search of Memory).

The original interview appears at Scienceblogs.de, a German-language cousin of Neurophilosophy. That site includes some highlights and related timecodes in German (which I can’t read).

I also found an online episode of the Charlie Rose television show, with guest host Dr. Harold Varmus (CEO of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center) interviewing Dr. Kandel. (Note: this is a one-hour program. At the link, you can download the program for iPod or PSP.)



Just a snippet from around the 21-minute mark in the Charlie Rose video, regarding short-term and long-term memory:

…the critical thing that we found…is that short-term memory involves a transient strengthening in the communication between nerve cells…

With long-term memory…the signaling systems move into the nucleus, and there they turn on genes… Genes will be altered in your brain…

Many people think that the genes are the determinants of behavior… In the brain, genes are the servants of the environment…

It was a bit surprising to me.

Anyone concerned with how learning occurs owes a great deal to Kandel, who readily acknowledges owing a great deal to the sea slug Aplysia, whose large and relatively few neurons provided the ideal subject for Kandel’s research.

Aplysia californica

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