Long Term Potentiation – What Is It?
Long Term Potentiation (LTP) is a long lasting response of the postsynaptic nerve cells with occurs with repeated stimulation.. Involving the learning and long term memory, it is an everlasting improvement in the transmission of signals in the middle of two neutrons that results from them both being stimulated synchronously..
In simple terms it is the ability of brain cells to retain how frequently they transmit certain signals to other brain cells… The cells that you use for mental tasks ( for example learning languages or even doing mathematics) have a tendency to last longer in the memory than processes that you may only do occasionally…
An example could be as follows:
A student is learning a new language and practises every day…. what they learn will usually remain fixed in his or her memory… at the same time they may also be also trying to study trigonometry, but fail to keep up with their studies, or just work on it occasionally…. anything they learn will be forgotten quite quickly
In Simple Terms…. Use It Or Lose It !!
Studies of LTP are often carried out by looking at slices of the hippocampus – this is a crucial part of the brain used for memory and learning… quite often the results are plotted into a graph like the one below:
The graph records the responses certain stimuli in synapses that have undergone LTP against those that haven’t..Synapses effected by LTP have far stronger electrical impulses when compared to those that haven’t.. The responses coming from LTP last for a very long time when compared to many other of the synaptic affecting processes…..this means that any memories or learning gained under LTP are retained easier and can usually be recalled instantly..