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The Making of Memory:
What makes a memory?

Listen to The Making of Memory

Tuesday 1 August 9.00pm repeated Wednesday 4.30pm

This three-part series unravels some of the latest scientific research into how memory works with some of the leading experts in the field. We'll explore fundamental questions such as does our memory have infinite capacity? Why are some people are better at remembering than others? Might drugs already being developed and tested be able to improve our memory? And is there a genetic cause to dementia or is it down to our lifestyle choices?

Exactly how does the brain store the vast complexity of rich and detailed experiences which stay with us throughout our lives?

In this programme we explore the chemical, biological and genetic underpinnings of memory - the role of brain cells, of neurotransmitters and of specific areas such as the hippocampus, which seem to play a key role in the laying-down of new memories and learning.

What role do genes play and can science manipulate this to our advantage using new drugs currently in clinical trials? Also in the programme, are we any closer to understanding the causes of Alzheimer's and thus preventing it?


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Fascinating. I'm a musician and I'm interested in how we remember certain 'episodes' in a piece of music more clearly than others. It may be linked to an excess in triggered emotions at certain moments but I don't really know. In music it is useful to look at repetiton...

Alan Coady
Very informative. All the guests shared the ability to explain to the lay listener. Surprisingly, when the "use it or loes it" theory comes up the example always given is crossword puzzles. Nobody ever mentions listening (actively) to radio progammes like this.

Listening to your broadcast this evening - all very interesting as regards methods for trying to recall things (people's names etc) but there's another thing very exciting - we've all done it... In the middle of a conversation, a fact eludes you. You sit for a while trying to recall the band who recorded Flowers in the Rain or the Spanish for ants, whatever. Finally you give up and carry on with the conversation. Not more than 10 minutes later the missing word pops into your consciousness. 'The Move!' you say triumphantly, or 'hormigas!'. Your brain has been doing a search, without your being aware of it, in the background, all the while. Is that not amazing?

Very interested as lived for many years with husband with vascular dementia. Different problem from Alzheimer's as often much "insight' is retained which causes great distress.

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