Memory is the term given to the structures and processes involved in the storage and subsequent retrieval of information. Memory is essential to all our lives. Without a memory of the past, we cannot operate in the present or think about the future.
Map in Your Mind A complex dialog across brain regions helps us retrieve useful and appropriate memories Howard Eichenbaum has published a new study suggesting that the circuitry in the human brain that retrieves memories appropriate for specific situations spans long distances and supports a complex dialog between two brain structures.
A co-worker drops by asking what materials are needed for an upcoming meeting. The work, published online on June 20,in Nature Neuroscienceis among the first to describe the operations of a large brain circuit that controls complex behavior.
By revealing the details of the communications between brain regions to access appropriate memories, the findings may give clinical researchers clues about which communication channels may be impaired in brain disorders that disrupt memory. So his team trained rats to find Froot Loops in flowerpots.
For example, the rats learned that in room A the cereal is hidden in a pot filled with purple plastic beads that smell sweet. But in room B, the goods are in the pot filled with black paper shreds that smell spicy.
They monitor both the hippocampus, known to be the seat of memory in the brain, and the prefrontal cortex, thought to be a coordinator.
The circuitry that guides the selection of memories based on the current context spans the rat brain. Information flows from the ventral hippocampus vHPCin the lower part of the brain, to the prefrontal cortex mPFCand then back to the dorsal hippocampus dHPCnear the top of the brain.
Breakdowns in the circuitry can cause different types of memory problems, including loss of memory and also the inability to determine which memories are appropriate for the current situation.
Diagram courtesy of Howard Eichenbaum In previous studies, the team had already learned that neurons in the prefrontal cortex fire in relation to cues that signal rewards, such as a particular pot that contains a stash of Froot Loops.
They had also identified neurons in a region called the ventral hippocampus that recognize the room the rat is in. Neurons in the dorsal hippocampus fire when the rat recognizes a flowerpot it has seen before.
In this most recent experiment, they learned how the brain puts these pieces of information together to guide a decision, like which pot to dig in. For instance, when the rat enters room A, the ventral hippocampus transmits to the prefrontal cortex, setting the context to room A.
The dorsal hippocampus begins firing as it recognizes flowerpots. The prefrontal cortex, which knows that the reward in room A is in the pot with purple beads, sends this information to the dorsal hippocampus, telling it which memory to act on.
These rhythms originate in deep structures in the middle of the brain, synchronize between the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex, and allow information to flow between them. To explore this possibility, Eichenbaum is using optogenetics, a powerful tool that allows researchers to configure specific neurons in the brains of rats so that they can be turned on or off using laser light.
Theta rhythms are an important clue for researchers like Ranganath, too.Memories underlie so much of our rich life as humans How Are Memories Stored in the Brain? The hippocampus helps to solidify the pattern of connections that form a memory, but the memory.
New Estimate Boosts the Human Brain's Memory Capacity Fold.
The question of just how much information our brains can hold is a longstanding one. Even if you can store every song ever.
Imagine a day when history mocks us for our belief that memory was stored in the brain. We have no proof that the brain has any processing power at all. For all we know the brain is simply a biological antenna that tunes into vibrations emmited by .
The human brain’s memory-storage capacity is an order of magnitude greater than previously thought, researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies reported last week. Memory encompasses everything from thoughts of childhood friends to a mental list of what we need to pick up at the grocery store.
It is essential for our sense of self, and allows us to learn from our previous experiences. In general, a memory is a piece of information stored in your brain, but the.
The Guardian - Back to home. What happens in your brain when you make a memory? When we want to access a memory from the dark recesses of our brain, signals from our frontal cortex link to.