Mapping how long-term spatial memory is stored

Cardiff University reports their researchers have mapped out how people store long-term spatial memory.

Professor Frank Sengpiel, from Cardiff University’s School of Biosciences, said “Until now, how the brain stores information about our environment over long periods of time has been a mystery. Our new research reveals a pattern of brain cell activity within the retrosplenial cortex when the brain is storing where things are located in space. Now that these cells have been identified, future research may show us how they become disrupted in, for example, Alzheimer’s Disease, or how we might be able to selectively modify them to enhance spatial memories.”

Spatial memory allows people to record information about their environment and find their way around.

The team of researchers at Cardiff University used mazes to test the spatial memory of mice, putting strawberry milkshake in different parts of the maze. The mice were tasked to explore the maze to find the milkshake, and then their brains were scanned to see what happened after they learnt how to orientate within the maze.

Frank Sengpiel said “After the mice had explored the maze, we scanned their brain to look at its activity. We found that a part of the brain called the retrosplenial cortex showed a specific pattern of activity after the mice had learnt where the strawberry milkshake was located. Twenty-four days later, we put the mice in the maze again, and we found that some mice were better at remembering where the strawberry milkshake was in the maze. These mice showed these same specific patterns of activity in this area of the brain.”

The findings are published in Current Biology.

Free WordPress Themes, Free Android Games