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Worms regenerate decapitated heads with memories

4 years ago82 views

Originally published on July 16, 2013

Researchers discovered planarians are able to retain memories even after being decapitated and regenerating a new head. Planarians are flatworms that are able to regenerate lost body parts. They are often found in both saltwater and freshwater ponds and rivers while some species are found in soil and on plants in humid areas. They dislike open spaces and bright lights.

To test the memory of the planarians, the researchers trained the worms to overcome their fears of open space and bright light as they searched for food in a petri dish. After they were trained, the researchers decapitated them and waited for two weeks for the planarians to regenerate their heads. Evidence has shown the same planarians with the new brain retained the memory from the training were able to overcome the fear of light faster the ones had not been trained. The planarians needed only one brush-up lesson to stimulate their memories.

The researchers are still investigating on how planarians recover their memory.
It was suggested that the planarian's memories are stored elsewhere than the brain while it could also be possible that the original brain alters the nervous system which resulted in an altered regenerated brain.

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