Written by Dr Caroline Leaf.
As we form long term memory, the structure of the brain is changed, right down to the cellular, molecular and even the level of quantum physics. Here we shall examine how long term memory is formed at the level of cells and molecules.
The reason it takes about 63 days for habit formation is because habit formation depends on long term memories which goes through a process to be fully established . It takes time for the cellular and molecular structures to be fully formed.
As we learn, nerve cells (neurons) fire and release neurotransmitters in the small gaps (synapses) between them and other neurons, which cause them to also fire. These neurotransmitters therefore relay the electrical impulse from one neuron to the next neuron across the synapse between them. As we continue to learn, this connection (synapse) gets stronger chemically and structurally making it easier for the impulse to be relayed and therefore nerve networks to be established . This is short term memory.
However, research is now showing memory is not just shown in strengthened synapses, but also by intracellular changes in microtubules. Microtubules were once thought to be merely cell scaffolding- now it is realized that they actually form the ‘brain’ of the cell. In fact the microtubule network in the dendrites have been likened to mini-computers .
As we learn a molecule called, CAMK 2, is activated in the dendrite . CAMK 2 has been nick-named the ‘nanopoodle’ because of its molecular shape. As we persist in learning, activated CAMK 2 ‘walks’ on the mircrotubules depositing phosphate groups thereby imprinting memory in the dendritic mini-computers . As this process of memory imprinting continues, the dendritic spines, which form part of the synapse, changes shape- from a bump, then a lollipop, and eventually to an umbrella shape .
Microtubules have even been implicated in how consciousness is expressed through in the brain by a process of quantum computing operating at fantastic speeds of 10 to the power of 27 operations per second for the whole brain .
As long term memory is fully established in our brains, our thoughts become automatized into habits . It is then that God’s word is firmly ‘implanted’ and can ‘fully save our souls’ (James 1:21) leading to godly behavior (Matthew 7:20) and life giving words from our mouths (Matthew 12:34).