Taking over the study done on rats, scientists have discovered new ground in memory analysis. The finding examines how the brain recover long-term memory and should open new methods for experimenting and handling Alzheimer’s disease and other reasons of dementia. Researcher’s at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas has found that two brain areas that work together to combine memories connect differently during the bringing back of distant memories.
The two brain areas are known as hippocampus and the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). During merging, memory reliance move from the hippocampus to the ACC. Though, the latest study disclosed that during remote memory remembrance, the ACC takes the front and drives the hippocampus.
Graduate student Ryan A. Wirt and psychology professor James M. Hyman demonstrates the 4 years of laboratory and research work that led to the results in a Cell Reports paper. “Our research,” states Prof. Hyman, “opens up potential new avenues to explore why certain dementias and disorders lead to problems recalling long-term memories, which could help pave the way for future treatments that might be able to restore this ability to afflicted individuals.”
Memory issues and cognitive disability
Memory issues are a key indication of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a problem that can precede Alzheimer’s illness and other kinds of dementia. MCI impacts roughly 15-20% of individuals in their mid-60s and older, according to Alzheimer’s Association estimates. In spite of the fact that the symptoms of MCI are not serious enough to disturb your daily life, individuals who get prone to it will see the changes and also those who are familiar with it.
There are two kinds of MCI; amnestic, which impacts memory; and nonamnestic, which impacts thinking and judgment.
Individuals with amnestic MCI start commence to forget stuff they were able to remember before such as latest events, talks with people and necessary appointments.
Prof. Hyman describes that, “losing the potential to remember long-term memories is a “hallmark symptom” of the transition from MCI to the more severe cognitive impairment that characterizes Alzheimer’s disease.”
From the previous study on memory consolidation, he and Wirt were aware with time, memory recollection becomes less and less reliable on the brain region which contains the hippocampus. They also record that studies have also displayed that the area which contains the ACC “is involved with contextual information processing and remote recall.”
They describe for example, how animal analysis have shown that neurons in the ACC “encode the where, when, what, how, and emotional aspects of contextual representations.” “Importantly, these findings extend into memory retrieval, showing that as time passes the ACC’s role in contextual processing increases”, mention the study authors. The previous research did now show, though, that the extent to which connections between the ACC and the hippocampus “changed as memories became more remote.”
Synchronization of brain waves
To investigate this further, they put rats in different surroundings at “different retention intervals” and noted the electrical activity in their brains utilizing implanted electrodes. They also inspected the animal’s brain tissue once the investigations were finished. It was discovered that when the ACC and the hippocampus function together during consolidation, there is a synchronization of brainwaves between them.
As consolidation works further, “the strength and prevalence” of the ACC waves expanded “leading to richer environmental context representations” in the hippocampus. It showed that the hippocampus depends on the ACC to function it during long-term memory rememberance after roughly, 2 weeks.
“This is a new mechanism for memory retrieval and a significant advancement in our understanding of how we recall the past.” says Prof. James M. Hyman.