(This is interesting as it opens up a discussion about the possible historical role of prions in the development of memory... multi-form proteins as biological switches; also, the idea that prions, in some instances, are invasive... they are basically infectious bio-'packages' that can be passed between hosts like a virus (Think: BSE for a simplistic example): Burroughs infamously said: "Language is a virus"; so, howsabout the idea of "Memory is an Infection." )
"The authors conclude their paper, published in the current issue of the journal Cell, with several questions. How and what triggers this transformation, how long does it persist? Is the continued presence of a prion-like state necessary for the persistence of memory, and is it correlated with or predictive of long-lasting memory? And most interestingly: can a transient memory about to be forgotten be stabilized by artificial recruitment of the prion-like state (perhaps by a neurotropic compound)?
And what about that ironic link with prions, associated with neurodegenerative disorders? Are prions some twisted form of memory that could one day even have value? We’ll be keeping an eye on where this fascinating research leads."