How Do We Remember?

20 November 2018
Presented by Katie Haylor.

This month - what exactly is a memory? How does the brain suppress unwanted memories, and what can we do to improve our own memory? Plus, news hot off the press, and do our brains have their wires crossed?

In this episode

brain

00:48 - Hot off the press

Is social media making us depressed?

Hot off the press
with Dr Duncan Astle - Cambridge University, Dr Helen Keyes - Anglia Ruskin University

This month, cognitive neuroscientist Duncan Astle from Cambridge University and perceptual psychologist Helen Keyes from Anglia Ruskin University shed light on screen time and the right/left crossover in the brain, and they spoke with Katie Haylor.

Duncan - There’s been in the last 10 15 years, a dramatic rise in the amount of screen time and probably the most salient example of which is social media. So the way in which we interact with each other in a social way has fundamentally changed, and people are increasingly worried that this is having a negative effect on our psychology and in particular and our mental health.

Katie - So tell us specifically about what this paper was looking into.

Duncan - So it's really hard to study because firstly everybody uses social media now, so there are people who are kind of social media and naïve. Essentially all the data we have is correlational, so it's looking at how much screen time you use or the kind of thing you do and relationships with things like mood and feelings, things like anxiety and depression. And of course it's really difficult to disentangle causal relationships.

Last week a paper came out in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology which has the great title of No More Fomo, you know what Fomo stands for?

Katie - Fear of Missing Out?

Duncan -. Exactly right. So “No more fear of missing out, limiting social media decreases loneliness and depression”. So what they did which is quite novel is rather just looking at correlational evidence they tried to do an intervention study. They took 150 people, they randomly allocated them to two groups and in one group they were instructed to limit their use of social media to 10 minutes per day per platform. So with a maximum of 30 minutes per day.

So the idea behind it being is that if social media does play a key causal role in people's feelings of depression and loneliness, then limiting it ought to boost well-being. So they followed these people over three weeks and each week they used the Beck depression inventory (a really standard kind of questionnaire checklist for measuring people's mood) and essentially what they found was that the people who were in the limited group did indeed have a significant reduction in feelings of depression and loneliness over the period of the intervention.

Katie - How old were these people? Because you tend to focus on children's development right? So are children particularly vulnerable, do we know if kids are particularly vulnerable to I guess “social media induced fomo”?

Duncan - These are adolescents, these are probably a little bit older than I would often study. So in our lab we mainly study kids who are late primary school but actually lots of young kids have Facebook accounts.

So this study is nice in many ways and it's quite novel. But there are some red flags. Number one as we often say in our lab the devil's in the control group. So what do the control group do and the answer is nothing. The control group is the kind of treatment-as-normal. Responses on questionnaires and checklists can be massively influenced by expectation. And so it's a problem that the control group don't have any kind of intervention, just having a no intervention control group it's very hard for us to know what's really driving the effect.

Second red flag is check carefully that the groups are matched before you start the intervention. So the group of kids who restricted their social media use, they were already using less social media than the other group and it may be that one thing they did in their analysis was only include those children who they think successfully adhered to the intervention and that the more prolific social media users are therefore not included in the analysis. And that could be really really important.

Katie - So bearing in mind what should people take away from this study?

Duncan - It's a nice initial idea of how you can go about studying these things, so seeing whether small short term interventions in people's social media use can have an impact on mood and feelings. But the challenge is in getting the right design and my suspicion is that in reality it's not as simple as saying social media is good or social media is bad. So a study coming out the previous year showed that for the vast majority of teenagers, social media or moderate social media use is a key way in which they engage with their community and they feel like they belong. And that for some individuals who already have symptoms of anxiety and depression, high social media use can exacerbate those symptoms.

Type of social media and context are probably really really important. I’m constantly asked about what is the right amount of screen time for my child. And the answer is there is no amount, probably context and purpose are more important than the overall amount.

Katie - Helen, do you have any thoughts?

Helen - Yes. I think that story sounds really interesting, I'd like to see a study that could disentangle whether it’s not doing social media that might be helpful or whether it's doing something else instead of social media that might be helpful.

So if I wasn't spending time on social media I would more than likely be reading a novel which we know has really strong protective factors for your mental health and it makes you more empathic with other people. So we would really need to control for that by using maybe screen time watching telly or doing something else that is similar to social media but not engaging in the community aspects of that. So that's what I would like to see.

Katie - Helen, Mark has got in touch to ask, “why are we wired so that the right side of the brain controls the left side of our body and vice versa. Wouldn't it just be so much easier if it was the other way around?”

Helen - That's a great question. It's one of the questions I get asked most often in my perception lectures and I love it. We call this idea decussation, where the left hemisphere largely controls movement in the right body and vice versa. And you can see this most commonly if someone's had a stroke or damage to one half of their brain. You can see they will  lose movement or lose some function of the opposite side of their body. So we've known about this for a long long time.

There are some really interesting exceptions to this. For example smell doesn't decussate at all, all that information from the left nostril goes directly to the left brain and from the right nostril goes directly to the right brain. Also hearing is partially uncrossed. So in some cases it decussates and in some case it doesn't. So we might ask why this would happen that's the more interesting question. Some people believe it's advantageous to have it this way and indeed if you do large 3D models involving lots of connections and networking, there is a slight advantage which we don't really know why but there is a slight advantage in that you are slightly more robust against wiring errors when you cross over when you decussate, we’re not quite sure why.

But I'm not necessarily a fan of this as a theory in terms of what drives this. Because why then wouldn't smell decussate, why wouldn't hearing completely decussate if it was just advantageous for us to do so? A much more interesting theory is twist theory and it describes a nice evolutionary quirk that might have driven this situation.

We know that invertebrates. So animals and our species that don't have a backbone, don’t decussate so the left side of the brain controls the left side of their body and vice versa. It's only vertebrates that this happens with. So that's quite interesting in and of itself. And if you look at invertebrates, their nervous system comes from the brain largely along their belly, whereas with vertebrates the opposite is true. So our spinal cord goes along our backbone above our digestive tract. It’s a direct flip. And twist theory suggests that at some stage a precursor to the vertebrates twisted its head around 180 degrees.

And it explains quite a lot. It explains obviously why the crossover would happen, but it also takes into account why smell doesn't cross over. So this all happens above where this twist would have happened, the olfactory bulb is right at your nose, so left nostril goes directly to left olfactory bulb without any need for it to have crossed over. And similarly the auditory nerve would come into the brain just where the twist was happening. So that would explain why some auditory processing is crossed and some isn't. So it seems like it's an evolutionary quirk that didn't have any particular reason, that there was no particular advantage, but there hasn't been enough of a driver and of an advantage to detangling for it to change.

puzzle

10:46 - What is memory?

What would a memory actually look like?

What is memory?
with Dr Amy Milton, Cambridge University

Whether it’s reminiscing about that baking hot beach holiday, forgetting your keys or reciting that work to do list, our memories are never far from our minds. But what is this mysterious system we call memory? Katie Haylor spoke with Cambridge University's Amy Milton.

Amy - The brain is made up of millions billions of brain cells and these all talk to each other, if particular sets of brain cells talk to each other again and again and again, they get more efficient at talking to each other and they lay down what we call a memory trace, which allows them to communicate more efficiently next time Some of that information is presented.

This change in communication efficiency. For that to persist there has to be some kind of structural change in the way that these brain cells talk to each other and the only thing that the brain cells have really got to build with is proteins. So what you would see if you could look down a microscope and see a memory, is a difference in proteins that are being produced by these individual brain cells, particularly the one that's receiving the signal which we call the post-synaptic neuron. You'd see lots of proteins basically coding for receptors to receive the signal from the pre-synaptic neuron, the one before the synapse.

Katie - And by coding, it’s making a product, making a protein?

Amy -  That's right. So when brain cells communicate with each other, the pre-synaptic neuron releases chemicals which is detected by the post-synaptic neuron using receptors. So there's a little protein that receives the signal. When the change in communication efficiency happens, there’s more of these proteins to receive that signal.


Katie - So if we were to summarize then a memory is a change in the behaviour in neuron our selection of neurons that can communicate with each other much more efficiently than they could do before?

Amy - That's right. So it's a change in behavior following an experience. And that works even at the level of individual neurons, having received this signal again and again and again the second neuron becomes much more efficient in detecting that, so it changes its behavior based on its prior experience.

Katie - And I guess that's a lovely definition because it also works at the level of the individual. If I remember that right cup of coffee is particularly good at that café compared to that cafe, I might change my behaviour and go to the other cafe.

Amy -  That's right. So it's a very broad definition and there are a few problems with it. But as a working definition it's not a bad one.

Katie - Okay so say before I came to see you, I got my cup of coffee it's particularly nice, that memory is being made in my brain. What happens afterwards, where does it go? Does it get shuttled off to a different part of my brain?

Amy - So that type of memory would actually be laid down in a number of different memory stores. We often think of memory as being a single thing but it's not. There's lots of different types of long term memory. We can have memories for individual events, so you remember that this morning you went to this location and you bought your cup of coffee and you might remember the person who served you, you might remember your individual order and so on. That's an event memory that we sometimes call episodic memory and that depends on a particular brain area called the hippocampus.

Alongside that you will probably have formed an implicit memory, a sort of unconscious much more motivationally relevant memory that the coffee from that shop is good. That location is a good location and you may find that next time you’re just wandering past that you feel drawn into that location because you’ve had something good there before. And that type of memory is stored in a different part of the brain which we call the amygdala and that kind of unconscious or implicit memory you can’t pass that memory on in words.

Katie - Now Amy explained that these implicit memories tend to stay put in the part of the brain where they’re made but episodic memories can over time wander off.

Amy - We know that event memories are initially stored in the hippocampus but from studies of patients such as Henry Molaison or the patient H.M., he had damage to his hippocampus, he had it removed surgically to stop very severe epilepsy. And it was found that he could recall events from his early childhood. In fact he could still draw the layout of his childhood house well into his 80s but the last couple of years before he had his hippocampus removed he couldn't remember.

And of course you couldn't lay down any new event memories because he didn't have a hippocampus after the surgery. So that suggests that over two to three years those hippocampus memories are becoming independent of the hippocampus and they're moving elsewhere.

Katie - Where do they go?

Amy - So the idea is that they're moving to cortical areas so it's like the hippocampus teaches the cortex over a very long period of time what those memory traces are. And then once that's been achieved the hippocampus is no longer necessary to recall those memories. They now live in the cortex if you like and they can be recalled directly from there.

Katie - The cortex overlays a lot of the regions in the brain and different cortical regions house different bits of a memory, like what something looked like or sounded like. The hippocampus, tucked away in the brain nearest to the ears on the inside of the head, is kind of like a puppet master pulling all the strings of the memory together from different bits of the cortex. And it teaches the cortex how to put the memory together. Sounds rather complex huh?.

Amy -It is rather, and we now think of memory as being much more distributed that lots of different brain areas contribute to memory a little bit like the internet. So there are key hubs there are key points that need to be working but actually the information is much more distributed much more like the World Wide Web.

There was a view back in the 80s and 90s that the hippocampus was like the index card system and the cortex was like the books on the shelves. But it's interesting that views of memory seem very much to mirror how we store information at the time. So as quantum computing develops it will be interesting to see how the theories of memory evolve.

Katie - Quantum memory? The thought of it makes my brain hurt so let's move on. Now it's all very well to store a memory in this great vast internet of the brain. But what happens when you need to go in and actually find it?

Amy - So the idea is that you get activity again within that memory trace. So you might only switch on a few neurons within that trace but because they've become so efficient at signalling to each other they all then become active together and that gives you the memory again.

Katie - Almost like a map of neurons, a map unique to that memory?

Amy -  Exactly exactly but under certain conditions where maybe a few extra neurons are active that can then become wired up to that original memory trace.

Katie -So that's the unexpected add-on information. Say you’ve got something slightly wrong, or something else has come along to add to that memory. Those neurons can sort of tack on to make up a new map?

Amy - That's right. Under certain conditions of retrieval where there's new information incorporated, if that's replacing some old information maybe that you got wrong. You can also unpick some of that original information. You would be taking some of those receptors out of the neuronal membrane. So you put those receptors in when you made the memory, maybe now you need to fill them out and that will then allow you to rewire that memory trace.

And of course if you're doing this again and again, and the more you recall that memory, the stronger those connections are getting. You can see how doing this over a period of time could lead to two people who had an original memory that was pretty similar actually having two memories that are now quite different.

Katie - So memory is pretty flexible. We update memories all the time but with flexibility comes vulnerability to suggestion and for instance police, Amy says, have to be really careful of this when questioning witnesses. But is it really fair to expect us to be able to recall events absolutely? And is it even really necessary? I'll give the last word to Amy.

Amy - We often think about memory as being about recording the past. Well we know memory is not an accurate recording of the past. We do reconstruct quite a lot. Memory is actually more about knowing what to do next time you're in a similar situation, so it doesn't need to be 100 percent accurate. It just needs to be good enough to predict what's going to happen in the future. And that's one of the ways that we use to mark what's important.

Understanding post traumatic stress disorder.

19:57 - The science of forgetting

What actually happens in the brain when we forget?

The science of forgetting
with Professor Michael Anderson - Cambridge University

Of course, severe memory loss can be devastating, but forgetting isn’t always a bad thing. Some memories are painful or distracting to remember, and an ability to suppress these memories can be useful. Katie Haylor met forgetting expert Professor Michael Anderson from Cambridge University.

Michael - We study people's ability to actively forget. So we believe that a lot of the forgetting that people experience is actually not accidental. It's not just due to the passage of time or to the crumbling of memory traces but things that we do to use our memory and also to protect ourselves. We have constructed a laboratory procedure which I think mimics the circumstances of motivated forgetting as they occur in the real world and we set people the task of trying to forget in the scanner and we watch their brain as they do this and we hope to document the brain regions involved in that process.

Katie - So we're not going to do a full test on me but say were, what kind of things would you ask me to forget?

Michael - Well we basically are studying a situation in which you confront a reminder to something that you'd rather not think about. We've all had that situation right, you walk around the corner and you see a car from your ex and you just put up the mental and you say oh no I'm not going to think about that I'm going to stop thinking about that.

Katie - Would traumatic memories and things come under a similar sort of category?

Michael - You know traumatic memories for sure certainly. Basically a lot of the memories that we have are stored in our brain or of things that we'd rather not think about, whether it's trauma or embarrassment, shame, anxiety or any kind of negative emotions we'd rather not re experience, sometimes reminders in the world call those memories back into your mind. People usually are not very well disposed to that happening and so they try to push the unwanted memory out of awareness. What our research is focused on is that process of pushing? What is it that you are doing?

Katie - Well, the time has come I can't put it off any longer...

After making sure I had no metal on which could be influenced by the magnet, I was led into the MRI room. I took my shoes off, was given some earplugs and laid down on a rather comfy bed, which together with a funky headset and a mirror angled up at a computer screen, I slid slowly into a very large doughnut whose walls were no more than a few inches from my face. Luckily I’m not claustrophobic.

[MRI sounds]

Michael - Katie Haylor, meet Katie Haylor’s brain. Before we look at this I just want to emphasize the specialness of this because the fraction of all humanity who has ever existed lived on earth who has actually gotten a chance to see their brain is very tiny and you are you now are well to that club.

Katie - Wow. I feel very honored!

Michael - There is your brain looks perfectly lovely. What we're looking at here is a slice right in the midsection of the brain so we can see the right hemisphere. We're looking towards the right hemisphere and the left hemisphere has been stripped away. We can see the prefrontal cortex off here to the left, posterior visual cortices is back here. This is your brainstem.

Katie - Everyone knows what a head looks like. But to slice the ead as it were is a bit of an odd arrangement, so that I can see my skull and the eye sockets. A kind of wiggly fleshy almost like walnut like bit of the brain at the top and that goes from back to front.

Michael - Yes indeed. So those are the gyri and sulci those are the technical terms, the folds of the brain. And there even though they look random they're not, they're actually reasonably consistent across people to the extent that they actually have names. Here what you're looking at is the corpus callosum.

Katie - Below the wiggly walnut bit. It’s more like a band slightly lighter in color from left to right.

Michael - Indeed so everyone's aware of that there is a left hemisphere of the brain and the right hemisphere of the brain, the left side the right side. Well the corpus callosum connects the two halves together allowing the two sides to talk to one another and you're looking around at it right there.

Katie - What was the thing that looks a bit like a cabbage leaf?

Michael - The cabbage leaf here is your cerebellum a critical structure in coordination and fine motor movements. But it's actually also involved in higher level cognition as well. Most people have heard of the brain's grey matter. The grey matter is where your brain cells live. The white matter underneath it, kind of this big bulky area, that's where the projections are going from one region of the brain to another region of the brain, so the axons that allow the brain regions to communicate with one another. So they're white because these axons are encased in a fatty substance called myelin, a myelin sheath and that's significant because it basically increases conductivity. It increases the rate of communication between one region and another region, if there's myelin covering. So your brain is full of that basically.

Katie - Right. But I guess that's a good thing?

Michael - It's a very good thing. You would hate life if it wasn't there.

Katie - Now this was structural MRI. It gave me a picture of my brain. But Michael does functional MRI which means he images the brain whilst it's doing things. By getting people to associate a trigger or reminder image with a particular scene and then putting them into the scanner, Mike tells them to stop the scene coming to mind when they're exposed to that same trigger. And he can see which brain areas are involved in this memory suppression.

Michael - Most people confront a little bit of a challenge initially but if you give them practice at suppressing something over and over and over, eventually the thing doesn't come to mind anymore. And in fact eventually if we test people's memory later on, people actually can't recall it anymore even when they want to recall it, so if they suppressed it often enough it causes forgetting and we call that phenomena suppression induced forgetting.

One of the most pervasive symptoms in psychiatric disorders whether you're talking about OCD, anxiety disorder, pathological worry or rumination in depression or flashbacks in PTSD or intrusive memories, there's kind of a commonality there of the memory delivering things to your mind that you don’t want and difficulties in preventing that from happening. And so if we can document how the brain controls unwanted thoughts and memories when somebody doesn't have a psychiatric condition, and we understand the networks involved then that really deeply, then there is a hope that we can better identify what might be going wrong and people suffering from that intrusive symptomatology and then develop interventions to address them.

Katie - So what actually is going on in the brain when we try to suppress an unwanted memory? In Mike's office, he filled me in.

Michael - It's all about stopping it really. So how do we stop memory from doing what it usually does? And understand this we build on a model of stopping physical actions which were also quite good at. So stopping yourself from reaching and grabbing a hot pot. We know that the prefrontal cortex is critical for this so particularly the right prefrontal cortex. It interacts with motor cortical regions to shut down the action, and we thought maybe the same thing same kind of thing happens except that the prefrontal cortex interacts with the structures involved in memory like the hippocampus and that's indeed what we find. We find that when you put people in that situation, you give them a reminder of something that you ask them to not think about, they engage this right prefrontal region to shut down activity in the hippocampus.

Katie - So now the group know which brain areas are involved in active forgetting in healthy volunteers, the next step is to look at the brains of people suffering with these unwanted memories. The aim being that if they can spot the differences in brain activity this may one day inform potential treatment.

But it's not just unwanted memories that we can suppress. Michael also studies how we suppress distracting ones. And he's recently published a paper on just this.

Michael - Suppose you go to the same supermarket over and over and over, and so you bring your car and you park in a different spot each time. When you can out of the supermarket you ask yourself where did I park my car? There'll be that momentary confusion, did I park over to the left or over to the right? That confusion is generated by the fact that your memory is delivering multiple alternatives to you based on your past experience and eventually you suss it out and you think oh yes that's right I parked over there today. In that little moment of confusion created by an overabundance of answers it’s  sorted out by a process of active forgetting, of suppressing the distracting alternatives and in in making that selection retrieving one thing at the expense of others. That gradually causes you to forget those other things and there's a reason why you don't remember every time you've parked in a parking lot.

Katie - So to remember one thing is to forget something else.

Michael - Yeah more or less yeah.

Katie - And you did this in rats. I'm guessing the parking is a bit of a metaphor, you didn't have rats parking cars. Why is it important to study this in rats?

Michael - Because I think everybody has the kind of question what's actually happening in the brain when you forget? What changes in neurons are happening? We can't get it by studying humans alone because I can’t open up someone's brain just to explore what's happening when they're forgetting something. It’s unethical. So our best approximation of this is to study forgetting in animals. Our friends the rodents engage active forgetting mechanisms in much the same way that we do and that's the subject of our recent paper with we've shown that to be the case.

I think active forgetting solves a problem that is shared across multiple mammalian species and that's the problem of finding the memories we need. Our brains are capable of storing massive amounts of information.

Katie - It's a bit like a search engine right?

Michael - It's like a search engine, it’s the problem of finding the information that we need when we need it. Not so much in storing it. And so if you have too many alternatives that you have to search through, you have to solve that problem of selection. I need to retrieve this thing, not these 10 other things. And that's the problem that rats confront and that we confront. We think there is a common solution which is  to suppress distracting memories and render them less accessible.

Katie - So it's kind of like search engine optimization for the brain?

Michael - I hadn't thought about it that way, but sure, why not!

checklist

31:54 - Be a memory champion

Could we do away with our to do lists?

Be a memory champion
with Nelson Dellis

We've all been in that situation where we wish we could remember something - from to do lists, to keys or someone's name. With so many things to remember in life, the idea of a “better” memory sounds pretty enticing. Katie Haylor spoke to memory champion Nelson Dellis about his tips for how we can all improve our memories.

Nelson - I can memorize a deck of cards in just under 30 seconds. I've memorized about 20 packs of cards in an hour. About a thousand digit number and half an hour

Katie - Sorry, a thousand digits? Yeah.

Katie - How long does it even take to say a 1000 digits?

Nelson - Well in the competition we’re just writing them down, but yeah maybe 15 minutes?

Katie - Now I wasn't just going to take Nelson's word for it. I wanted him to prove it. Not 1000 digits. Let's just say 20. On the spot, I cooked up 20 digits and asked him to relay them back to me, so how did he do? Forwards backwards. He got it spot on. Now that's all very well but Nelson’s a memory champ. So what can us normal folk do to remember things better?

Well Nelson told me about a few tips he says you can use to remember pretty much anything. There are different permutations but they're all essentially based on his so-called see-link-go method; visualize an image, link it to something and then make it ridiculous. First up Nelson helped me with a phone number I'd been struggling to commit to memory.

Nelson - A very simple way to see the numbers in something called the number shape system or number rhyme system. So every digit between 0 and 9, if you're going the numbers shape route, you come up with a picture for what the number looks like. So 0 the first number to me I categorize zeros as anything of circle shape like a ball or a disc or a plate. Whatever comes to mind something circular you can just picture that image. And then the next number is 2. I categorize that as something that kind of looks like a bird, a swan sitting on a lake.

So what you do is you have all these images and you want to link them. So if you start with an image of a ball, so maybe you’re playing football. You try to hit a penalty kick and you hit a swan that was flying across the goal line. It flies out like a boomerang and loops back around. So you see, you’re making a story where you start with soccerball 0, hit a swan, 2, and turns into a boomerang, 7. Then you can apply this continuous process to all with digits to really make a memorable story.

Katie - A rather weird but certainly memorable tale! Nelson also let me in on the fun method he used to remember the number I gave him earlier on.

Nelson - I was using a system where I can group every four digits into one consolidated image so that means I have a system where every four digits means something very specific and that's something I’ve pre-learned. But for example the first fpur digits that you told me were 2 3 7 9 which is Jesus Christ playing football.

Katie - There is a method in the madness. Nelson links the number to an equivalent letter in the alphabet. So one is A two is B etc.. So 23 is B C that's how he gets to Jesus then 7 9, if you tweak the system a little bit is G N which in his head is Gary Neville. Character plus action equals Jesus Christ playing football.

So stepping back a bit, let's apply this general see-link-go method to say my shopping list. Item 1 cheese.

Nelson - So maybe the cheese is rotting. You even maybe taste it and it just makes you distgusted. It smells out the whole room, so that could be a more detailed picture. What was the next thing on your list?

Katie - Breakfast cereal.

Nelson - OK so then in a similar way I mean this would be the linking method, that is you take that gross mouldy cheese and you kind of sprinkle it all over your cereal. Maybe you feed it to your child and you can just imagine their face.

Katie - So similarly we're creating a sequence of events to enable us to remember our shopping list?

Nelson - Yeah and another way to do that - it’s called the memory palace technique. Instead of weaving into a story, you could actually use your house or some familiar place to attach the images along a path.

Katie - So how easy is this to do? With the help of a few willing co-workers, we put the method to the test. First up Izzie Clarke employed the memory palace technique on her work to do list and Adam Murphy use Nelson's technique of associating groups of four digits with characters doing actions to memorize Phi, the golden ratio. So how did they get on? Let's start with Izzie?

Izzie - Okay say my microwave is broken and I'm in my kitchen and there's an engineer there fixing that so that's to remind me that I need to look after a Naked Engineering podcast today. And then I walk in to our downstairs kitchen, brush my teeth and that is because I need to find something to do with a teeth show that is coming up. And then once I've cleaned my teeth I walk into the living room and the news is on, this is live news. That's to remind me that I need to find a live news guest for the show. I go up the stairs, pick up a newspaper because that's where we leave everything. Oh and that is to remember or that I need to publish an article on the website, and then as I walk up into my room and that engineer has a question for me and that's to remind me that I need to do question of the week”

Katie - Where Izzie got full marks for hers. Let's see how Adam got on with remembering his 20 digits.

Adam - So the first one is Michael Collins letting out a girlish scream, because Michael Collins was a revolutionary in 1916, so first two numbers 1 6 and then 18 because that A and H so ahhhhhh! So the next one was a fat cat who was going to the optician's, 3 is a C and that’s cat, and  0 is a big fat number so fat cat,  at the optician's C I because that’s what you at an optician's you see an eye! The next one was Hulk Hogan having a wrestling match with God, because Hulk Hogan is H.H. and then 7 4 is G D so God. Then the next one was - this was the hard one because I can barely remember 98 is the next two because I couldn't come up with a thing for it.

Katie -  Okay so that hasn’t quite worked on that part - let’s skip past it.

Adam - But whatever that thing was it was trying to drink because the next two is 9 4 which is I D and the last one was George Orwell going to town on a bucket of ice cream because 19 84 and then 82 is H.B. which is a brand of ice cream.

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