the Institute, in which I came, traces its history to 1950. Here, as many years ago, carried out molecular biological, genomic studies of behavioral reactions of living beings, the neurochemical mechanisms of learning and memory, conditioned reflexes and emotions. Still in the corridors there is an abiding smell… mice, and from it can not escape, because most of the research conducted in rodents.
But there is work that does not hold without the man. For example, here periodically post ads on the recruitment of staff volunteers in experiments to study the mysteries of human sleep. Came to work and to bed, not a job, but a dream!
— Our main object of study — the brain, — says Pavel Miroslavovich Balaban. — All of our 12 laboratories including those located at the Institute of neurosurgery them. Burdenko, study is our main authority.
Modern conditions require each researcher at least one article per year in a good cited journals in the English language. And scientists of all time. Someone on their own, some in cooperation with foreign neuroscientists. No wonder the Institute last year awarded the first, the highest category.
Today, researchers around the world can be aware of what their colleagues, through publications and communication on the Internet. And my interlocutor remembers a time when this was not possible, but it did not interfere with our physiology to keep pace with their Western colleagues.
— was 1987, when I was first released abroad to the international conference in Hungary, remembers Paul Balaban. The Americans surrounded the crowd: “What’s new with you?” — ask. Though we are not told much to reveal to foreigners, but I decided that talking about work that is about to be published in the journal wounds, I can tell you.
In General, I told the Americans, as we take blood from well-fed animals, hungry animals introduced, and then the neural networkones their brain there is an answer, that is a reaction, as in fed. A rather unusual thing: we recorded something like transfer of memory, because the neural network fed animals react in the same way as trained to reject certain foods.
However, one scientist from the U.S., listened to me, did the astonished eyes and shows a printout of their results is completely analogous to the experiment! Not only on land snails, as I have, and freshwater mussels.
— with this method because you can save many fat people from overeating! Deceived the neurons virtual food and sleep.
— it is Theoretically possible. And snails we have shown. It would also be possible to develop memory about the harmful and dangerous products. This would require our standard training: take an animal, offer the smell of his favorite food… in combination with current. Produces memory, and after the animal to this kind of food will never come. We saw firsthand how the snail crawled off from his beloved carrots. And those who were directly involved in the experiment and those who were transfused blood “test”.
— There is still a way to give up forever the flour!
— with snails, and similar human physiological responses and neurochemistry of the nervous system. You would help people to avoid cakes with a Taser, but such radical experiments we conduct can not (smiles).
So, back to my trip to Hungary… the Coincidence of the results of our and American experiments, it was vivid proof that, even separated by the iron curtain, scientists think in the same direction. But by itself the scientific idea is worth nothing without confirmations, no experiments. Who made the first — and laurels. The American results came out a little earlier in Experimental Biology, and mine — in the “Journal of higher nervous activity them. I. P. Pavlova”, which is then also active read all over the world.
Now you could say that still are on the same level with their overseas colleagues?
— ideas Yes, but experimentally, alas, far behind. Now in the leading countries adopted a national programme for the study of the brain, the whole world is already working on a good, modern technology. We also talked about this. But that was a deal — the question of allocating money for research that is of the brain only being discussed… First it was planned to amend the budget 2021-2031 years 60 billion rubles, in the end, while planned 6 billion on 40 companies for 10 years. It is only 600 million a year — 15 million (!) a year in the organization… Laughter, and only! One good FMRI (Functional magnetic resonance imaging. — Ed.) without which today can not progress in our science, it is worth 1 billion 200 million rubles more than planned for the year in the whole country!
your Institute is FMRI?
— In Moscow such installations the research level are available only in the Institute of neurosurgery and at the Research center of neurology Russian Academy of Sciences. But they are 3-4 years old and is already suitable not only for research but for clinical purposes.
In Saint-Petersburg there is a good FMRI, as well as what is still there in Moscow — modern research positron emission tomography. This is a very serious thing. In Europe and the USA such is in every University (!), and we have one — the whole of Russia. The financial contribution of the state in science we have a very funny — hundreds of times smaller than any other self-respecting state. If you compare the technical capabilities of foreign institutions and our is like comparing Moscow state University and high school.
Thanks to President Putin, in his decree, in 2019, scientists have doubled the salary. But where to take money for instruments, consumable materialy for experiments? Even simple tools, for example, tweezers and scissors of good quality for microsurgery, in Russia not to buy, we have to order them abroad. What can we say about such things as multiphoton laser microscope. Because it allows you to look at 2 mm (!) into living tissue. The entire West had ten years working on these microscopes valued at 80 million rubles each, and we’re marking time with a confocal microscope, which is the maximum that can is to penetrate deep into the tissue at 400 microns. Individual grants do not provide for the purchase of capital equipment.
from what I hear, institutions the first category, the Ministry promised to equip the most modern equipment.
— I will not say Anything against it, — the money allocated in 2019, for the first time in 7 years, it is the equipment. But… it’s just 25 million rubles. 25 million rubles for the Institute, which employs 150 researchers. There is even nothing to comment. Our officials felt that this should all be enough.
I always remember in such cases how much cash is regularly removed from our corrupt, that Colonel Zakharchenko! So I want to ask: “Where did you put them then? Give us at least half is saved from thieves.” After all, the budget of the Russian academic science — about 180 billion roubles is less, than in the whole year is “gone” from the budget!
Us scientists in Russia are not so many left each year leaving tens of thousands of the most educated.
— This is the official data?
No, those are strictly on the scientific staff who had left the country, still no one. For some reason, this information was not disclosed. But we know how many of our graduates went abroad. And it is not for traveling, not for housing in the first place — go for the reason that here to work on anything. The Ministry of science and higher education requires from us a top-rated article, and no modern equipment.
— how to get out of the situation? Because published.
— You will not believe — a lot of us do, but our abroad compatriots help. From our Institute there are 20-30 scientists, and almost every one of them in the late 90s brought the native organization for major international grants; actively cooperate and now, when Russia stopped giving foreign grants.
— we have, as always, the most important asset — people?
— of Course, the brains we have.
— And we will not issue out there in Western labs, some secrets that could serve as a defense, for example?
— In biology these are no secrets, everything is on the surface. As I said, the main thing for experiments.
Do Americans flaunt their designs? Take, for example, helmets that transmit thoughts at a distance, which, as they say, there are developing for the army.
— a fake. Pure journalistic fiction.
— Okay, well what about the work to find the areas of the brain corresponding to the outstanding abilities?
— Here it is, and on the West, and we have in the country (in our Institute). But I personally think it is a wasted exercise. Yes, theoretically the following areas could be found, but the method requires no special prospects.
— will Explain on the example of the arrow at a high level. Researchers are working with an established athlete: look, what area of the brain it is active during successful shot. Found. After the lead of the young marksman, who this area is just poorly activated yet, because he has little experience. Until he learned that such activity will not. There are, however, now attempts to transfer activity from trained to untrained, but I think they will not be effective.
— How is passed to the activity?
— the structure beginners enhancingresearch within artificial methods of transcranial electromagnetic stimulation. But here the problem is that you don’t know what stimulate, these areas do not have precise localization. To stimulate in the result accounts for almost a quarter or even half of the brain, and where the flow of excess currents further, no one knows. There is a great risk of unwanted side effects.
— I’ve heard quite a successful Western experiment with young pilots who, at the head wore a special cap with electrodes to stimulate those areas that have been successful have involved experienced pilots.
— I Think the result from the effects of currents on the brain here is greatly exaggerated, most likely, the effect of improving pilot skill here was the result of that with the recruits just did, tested many times at the gym.
have You ever passed an IQ test?
— Yes, one day passed. And, by the way, I realized that during the second pass, I would be more brave and certainly would improve the result.
— Here I am talking about the same thing: multiple tests by themselves improve of human ability.
once I attended a very interesting protection colleagues from the Simferopol University. Some of the Council members even cried. The essence of the work was to study the cognitive and intellectual abilities of 3-year-old children abandoned by a grief-parents in a nursing Home. At one time two hundred children scientists examined did not have time and returned to the orphanage after a year. You will not believe it, but it turned out that those who are examined during some five days ago, was drastically different for the better in development from those with whom they had not worked the year before.
it Turns out, simple communication is affecting the kids?
— is communication. In everyday life we sometimes do not give it much importance. And the kids, who for years resided without communicating, getting new experience, dramatically at him otreagirovalLee. So that the pilots, I think, had a similar effect — they did some extra credit in piloting, and then compared with their previous results.
the deja vu is there are no secrets
what age formed the human brain?
To six years. Initially the brain of a newly born man of excess — 1.5 times more than you need, there is approximately 120 billion neurons. But almost immediately redundant, which is not involved in the work, you begin to die. Only those (about 80 billion), which the child uses, which are needed in a given society at a given ecology. Why do children without an accent say, if up to 4 years included in the new language environment, and after six years of already doing so?
children need to talk more, to play… Why the game, they are better able to absorb new knowledge?
— Sigmund Freud provided us with one very important human feature. And it is a dislike of physical labor. A person more characteristic of love to games. During the game, people can do ten times more work.
Some refer to his work.
— If your work has the excitement, passion, as in the game, then you made the right choice.
what is your passion as a biologist?
My person? I want to understand how long-term memory is stored, how it is written in our brain. Why, accidentally met the mother of my classmate — the the Cecilia Samoilovna, I on all life have remembered her name, which, in principle, it was not particularly important? For me it is a challenge.
— And to understand that this is deja vu, you are not interested?
— We have not studied this phenomenon experimentally, but it is clear what it is.
— Any memory is divided into two components: those are the key incentives — lighting, sound, drops the window and the decor is a holistic panatie, indivisible Gestalt. Most often we remember a key stimulus, for example, vivid picture on the wall, and a number of other components that make up a holistic environment, if you do not pay special attention to it, not memorize — this requires special training.
In the process of studying memory, we realized that the key stimuli are encoded (stored) we have in the sensory areas of the brain, and the memory of the atmosphere, the aura of the place in another region of the brain, and it’s pretty vague. It is a pleasant or unpleasant odors, our mood at the time of remembering. So, when this same situation coincides with something in your life (and it can match only 70 percent — the rest of the brain thinking yourself), but it will become familiar 1-2 previous key character — that’s you and deja vu! You think that you were here, though, are here for the first time.
I had deja vu in Paris when I stood on the step leading into the Opera house in Opera square, and suddenly caught myself thinking that I remember and these stairs, and a lantern, but it certainly was here the first time in my life. Then I remembered that 40 years ago my dad (he was a teacher of French) was in this place, and the house was a picture I so thoroughly studied that when I saw a familiar place, I thought I have seen it firsthand.
the more we remember, the sooner you will forget
is There a reliable way to check memory?
— a Good memory is 20 percent of the world’s population, and the rest either average or very bad. It’s a given. If you can read a poem from the sheet once and immediately play, then you belong to this 20 percent.
Maximum can memorize only one verse.
— So you have an average memory. But some people can’t even remember the verse. People with poor visual memory may have a phenomenal auditory or motor.
I Heard that scientists learned how to use the existing in human memory. In your Institute to conduct such research?
— as strange As it sounds, but the process of erasing the memory is closely linked to memories. When once again we draw a picture of the past, we partially something we modify in our memory and thus gradually erase it. Try a hundred times to tell the same story — some basic reference points after this will, and the rest begin to fade from memory, the details will change.
First erased the connection between the environment and key incentives.
— New external factors, for example, any loud noise, distracting our attention, a new emotional state to block protein synthesis long-term memory, the connection between the events that we store in our brain, begins to break down.
Why do we need the Erasure of memory?
— So manifests itself brain plasticity, it is our ability to adapt. If the memory is not erased, then moving to a new apartment, you would have constantly fought the wall, on the spot where the old apartment was the door.
You never need a pin code forgot?
— I did once, but generally always keep in memory two.
— you Have a good concentration. And there are people who remember another pin over the years, but if you set them distracted with something sharp, for example, the alarming voice of the child in the receiver, the Erasure can occur forever. This is an example of a powerful external stimulus that triggers a cascade of biochemical processes leading to changes of the process of formation and destruction of proteins. Around and we offer washable memory — simply enter our animals artificial blockers of protein synthesis, for example, nitric oxide, and they forget about some of the events of his laboratory life.
is There a recipe tosupplied high-quality packages of remembering?
— of Course. This emotional attitude to what you have to remember. If there is no emotional relationship — big fun, bright personal associations with the subject, it is unlikely she quickly settles in memory. By the way, negative emotions, too. The biology Department I am very fond of physico-chemical biology is a very complex subject. And while not imbued him with sincere disgust (laughs), I could not remember. Can’t remember just like that, always need a context. Then it is enough to recall the disgust or joy, and immediately in the brain float corresponding formulas, along with the text.
training in the dream possible?
— It is “Linden”. But to learn something before the sleep useful sleep — removes extraneous noise, leaving only the memories, of words.
the Tutor of the… of the intestines
Sorry, but I still would like to return to the transfer memory by a blood transfusion. Do the world research group, who continue to do this? It is clear, though, how does it work?
— Scientific thought, of course, is moving forward. After our research “fed the hungry” and allowed us and our colleagues abroad have thought, and that, in fact, in the blood carries information to the neurons? At first I thought that these wires have to be proteins. But it was not they, but micro molecules of RNA.
recently in Los Angeles held an amazing experiment, “training” untrained animals by transfusion of hemolymph from them trained. Only pre-emptied of liquid, the researchers removed all the proteins, leaving only the RNA molecules. This is the branch of science about epigenetics, about which recently there has been much debate among scientists.
I will Explain what it is about. There is a DNA sequence of our genes, what we got from mom and dad and that is our identity. DNA does not change, that we would inhave yucali nor learned. Your genome in the cell of the skin and brain are the same. But! Somehow, in the skin cell skin and in the brain — the brain cell. Why? A set of working genes that are active in the cell of the brain, makes up 80% of the possible, the skin is just 8%. Who’s running it? It turns out that epigenetic regulation, which determines whether you have expressed (to show activity) a particular gene. Memory, as it turned out, also works with the participation of epigenetic regulation.
— whether the work is similar to the us, at your Institute?
there was a interesting job, which also confirmed the influence of epigenetic factors on the ability of living creatures. Usually 100% good students or laboratory animals account for 20 percent of those who are poorly trained. We worked in the laboratory the snails, and the small group of “losers” immediately resettled away while working with the “successful pupils”.
But two years ago we ran out of animals. To wait for a new batch had two months (this situation can arise only in Russia). I say to colleagues: “While we wait, let’s try to inject the remaining “losers” epigenetic regulator”. And I took the most simple that we have even in the intestines. It is a known substance, the amplifier expression of some genes. It is found in butter, is produced by intestinal bacteria from dietary fiber. We took a dose 100 times greater than that which is normally present in the intestines.
If the early “disciples” of this group practically did not remember that yesterday they were shocked (the next day, all safely forgotten), after the introduction of the regulator the next day has significantly improved our memory. So much so that they cannot be distinguished from “excellent”!
It’s a sensation! So it would be possible to improve the ability of many people to different Sciences, to the languages.
— that may be So, but until this very far. The consequences of this introduction epigenetic regulator as well incomprehensible to us, as from the influence of transcranial brain stimulation. The physiology of a single organism. We understand that if something somewhere moving in another place will move. By the way, then when we got a batch of good students, we implemented the same controller and they were surprised to find that with them nothing happened… Turns out if memory is already good, to improve its epigenetic way anymore. Already, many have come to the conclusion that any abnormality is a disruption in the field of epigenetics, the shift of balance. If we learn to block the process shift, we will understand where and how it happened it will then treat of the people by mobilizing their own resources and regulating the activity of genes without taking daily medication.