Eric Richard Kandel the 82 year old Austrian-US Professor and Neuropsychiatrist, the recipient of the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physiology Medicine research for his work on memory storage in neurons, has released his latest book, “The Age of Insight”. Kandel has been interviewed by Claudia Dreifus for the New York Times where he stated, “I’ve long been interested in memory. What does it look like on a physical level? …my mentor Harry Grundfest said, “Look, if you want to understand the brain you’re going to have to take a reductionist approach, one cell at a time.” He was so right. …in the 1960s, we went to a more reductionist approach. Instead of studying complicated mammalian brain cells, we studied the neural system of a simple animal — Aplysia, a snail with a very large nerve cell… We discovered that the snail’s reflexes could be modified by several forms of learning, and that learning involved alterations in how nerve cells communicated with one another. We next looked at short- and long-term memory in the snail…  It would turn out that short-term memory involves transient changes of the connections between the cells. There is no anatomical change. Long-term memory involves enduring changes that result from the growth of new synaptic connections…  When you see that at the cellular level, you realize that the brain can change because of experience. It gives you a different feeling about how nature and nurture interact. They are not separate processes.”


Inspired by Claudia Dreifus image source Eric Kandel