Monday, April 12, 2010

Short-term memory functions of the human fetus

This article talks about an experiment conducted in the Netherlands by The Masstricht Medical Centre and the University Medical Centre St. Radboud to test the short term memory span of fetuses at different intervals, starting at 30 weeks of gestation. They were able to detect signs of short term memory by measuring changes in how the fetus would respond to a repeated stimulation. When the stimulation was recreated, the fetus no longer responded the way it did the first time.

I found this article intriguing because if we can test the memory of fetuses, perhaps we are one step closer to being able to communicate with fetuses in the womb. Of course there are ultrasounds, that give us a look into the womb, but there isn't really a way for fetuses to communicate with the outside world. To be able to detect memory activity in the brain seems truly remarkable. With this new information about short term memory in fetuses, perhaps it will help doctors understand and possibility prevent abnormalities that occur in later development.

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