A team of researchers has developed a device that lets them record brain activity in an unprecedented level of detail. The team implanted tiny electrodes in the brains of mice, and placed another set of electrodes farther down the hippocampus region, with one measuring electrophysiology – the electrical activity between neurons – while the other measured the emissions coming from nearby neurons. The findings shed light on how the hippocampus – an area of the brain essential to memory formation – encodes information about the surrounding environment into multi-faceted memories that are later recalled. Researchers watched how the hippocampus accepts inputs from many different sources to create complex memories from simple stories.
In a new study, researchers at the University of California San Francisco used cutting-edge technology developed by colleagues at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to measure the amount of activity in the hippocampus in people undergoing surgery to treat severe epilepsy. The hippocampus is a region of the brain that is essential to learning and memory. For those with severe epilepsy, it’s also a lucrative source of cells for transplantation. In a study published in the journal Science, a team of neuroscientists found how neurons in the corpus callosum, the bundle of neurons connecting the left and right hemispheres of the brain, exchanges communication and affect how we react to what’s happening in our surroundings. This discovery has allowed them to show how neurons throughout the brain can be controlled.
Brain recordings help pinpoint areas in the brain that generate seizures. Monitoring these helps surgeons remove them more accurately, reducing the risk of setbacks. The new technology allows researchers to more accurately monitor details of the brain’s activity, such as learning and memory ability. An electric grid of electrodes on top of the brain has been used to help doctors pinpoint the source of epilepsy, according to a U.C. San Francisco study published Tuesday.
Deep within the temporal lobe is a long structure that can be a source of seizures for people with epilepsy. It’s called the hippocampus, and it’s one of the first brain regions affected by Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. John Chang is board-certified in functional neurology and specializes in diagnosing and treating epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, and seizure disorders.”We knew that sounds and memories can be retrieved from the hippocampus, which helps us find our way and remember key facts, such as where we parked the car. But a new study shows that traveling in the opposite direction is also important.” Said the doctors and the scientists who performed the actions.
Up until now, it was thought that strong emotional memories were encoded in the brain by creating new neural connections between the parts of the brain that hold spatial information and the parts of the brain that hold emotional information. However, a more recent study suggests it may be possible to form new connections between any two parts of the brain, regardless of whether they are close together or far apart. But new results from a different study suggest that emotional responses also travel backward, at least in dreams. This finding could shed new light on how the hippocampus processes information from other parts of the brain to form detailed memories.