The Mystery of Memory on WXXI-TV

The Mystery of Memory on WXXI-TV

Mon, 10/18/2010 - 10:30pm

An eye-opening journey of discovery into the workings of the unparalleled complexity of the organ that forms our memories: the brain.

The Mystery of Memory airs Monday, October 18 at 10:30 p.m. on WXXI-TV (DT21.1/cable 11/cable 1011).

From the producer of the highly acclaimed and beautifully-presented PBS documentary, "The Botany of Desire," comes a new science documentary, The Mystery of Memory. Memory is our most precious mental ability. It gives our lives continuity and provides each of us with a unique sense of identity. But, when it doesn't work the way we want it to, it can make our lives miserable.

Meet Jill Price, a 43-year-old Los Angeles woman. She can tell you details of what happened to her on every day of her life since she was twelve years old. She can also tell you the exact date and day of the week of hundreds of major news events. She is neither autistic nor a savant; she leads an essentially normal life. But her inability to forget the painful events of her life makes her prodigious memory as much a curse as a blessing.

At the University of California at Irvine, we meet James McGaugh and Larry Cahill, two neuroscientists who have been studying Price and a handful of others with similar memory abilities. And just now, they are beginning to find some intriguing clues as to where those abilities may come from. The Mystery of Memory takes us through the history of memory and brain research to build our understanding of the complexity involved in this arena of study and brings us to the many medical challenges of today, including understanding how to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a leading mental health issue facing American veterans. Scientists and physicians have come a long way in understanding how the brain works with memory, but they are the first to state that while they have made great strides forward, "There's a long way to go".