Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Memory and Alzheimer's: Towards a better comprehension of the dynamic mechanisms

01.09.2014

Research by Dr. Sylvain Williams shows that the flow of activity in the hippocampus, a brain region essential for memory, is actually bidirectional, rather than just unidirectional

A study just published in the prestigious Nature Neuroscience journal by, Sylvain Williams, PhD, and his team, of the Research Centre of the Douglas Mental Health University Institute and McGill University, opens the door towards better understanding of the neural circuitry and dynamic mechanisms controlling memory as well of the role of an essential element of the hippocampus – a sub-region named the subiculum.

In 2009, they developed a unique approach – namely, the in vitro preparation of a hippocampal formation. Now, the research team of Dr. Williams has succeeded in demonstrating in mice that, contrary to what has been thought to be the case for a hundred years, the flow of activity linked to memory in the hippocampus is not unidirectional and that the subiculum is not simply the exit point of this flow.

At the heart of memory

Memories form the very core of our identity. Despite this, the creation and retrieval of memories are phenomena that are not yet well understood. The neural circuitry underlying learning and memory are studied primarily because of their fundamental role in memory and diseases affecting it, such as Alzheimer's. The work of Dr. Williams and his team in the last few years has been concerned with understanding the dynamics of this circuitry. While we can say that the processes of memory encoding and retrieval require the activation of hundreds of thousands of neurons in the hippocampus working together synchronously, we still know very little about the circuits – or "routes" – underlying these processes.

Understanding how neurons of the hippocampus behave will give powerful insights into the anomalies in neural circuitry involved in Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia and will lead to more targeted interventions.

"It is only by identifying these circuits as well as their dynamic within the hippocampus that we will understand the mechanisms responsible for memory," says Dr. Williams. "Moreover, a better comprehension of the intricate dynamics of these circuits could be used to identify very early changes indicating the development, or future development, of Alzheimer's disease. Indeed, we have recent results that show that, in mouse models of Alzheimer's, these small alterations can appear long before memory loss."

This recent research was able to be undertaken thanks to optogenetics, a revolutionary technique which offers the unique capability to manipulate specific groups of neurons with light to better understand their role in neural circuits and brain rhythms.

The complete article (Reversal of theta rhythm flow through intact hippocampal circuits) is published on August 31in Nature Neuroscience.

###

For other information and interviews:

Florence Meney
Media relations
Communications and Public Affairs
Douglas Mental Health University Institute
Dobell Pavilion, office B-2122
6875 LaSalle Blvd.
Montréal (Québec) H4H 1R3
Tel: 514 761-6131, ext. 2769
Cell : 514-835-3236
florence.meney@douglas.mcgill.ca

About the Douglas Institute

The Douglas is a world-class institute affiliated with McGill University and the World Health Organization. It treats people suffering from mental illness and offers them both hope and healing. Its teams of specialists and researchers are constantly increasing scientific knowledge, integrating this knowledge into patient care, and sharing it with the community in order to educate the public and eliminate prejudices surrounding mental health.

Florence Meney | Eurek Alert!
Further information:
http://www.douglas.qc.ca/?locale=en

Further reports about: Alzheimer's Health McGill Mental Neuroscience circuitry mechanisms neural processes role

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study: How stable is the West Antarctic Ice Sheet?
09.02.2016 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

nachricht Online shopping might not be as green as we thought
08.02.2016 | University of Delaware

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Production of an AIDS vaccine in algae

Today, plants and microorganisms are heavily used for the production of medicinal products. The production of biopharmaceuticals in plants, also referred to as “Molecular Pharming”, represents a continuously growing field of plant biotechnology. Preferred host organisms include yeast and crop plants, such as maize and potato – plants with high demands. With the help of a special algal strain, the research team of Prof. Ralph Bock at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology in Potsdam strives to develop a more efficient and resource-saving system for the production of medicines and vaccines. They tested its practicality by synthesizing a component of a potential AIDS vaccine.

The use of plants and microorganisms to produce pharmaceuticals is nothing new. In 1982, bacteria were genetically modified to produce human insulin, a drug...

Im Focus: The most accurate optical single-ion clock worldwide

Atomic clock experts from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) are the first research group in the world to have built an optical single-ion clock which attains an accuracy which had only been predicted theoretically so far. Their optical ytterbium clock achieved a relative systematic measurement uncertainty of 3 E-18. The results have been published in the current issue of the scientific journal "Physical Review Letters".

Atomic clock experts from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) are the first research group in the world to have built an optical single-ion clock...

Im Focus: Goodbye ground control: autonomous nanosatellites

The University of Würzburg has two new space projects in the pipeline which are concerned with the observation of planets and autonomous fault correction aboard satellites. The German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy funds the projects with around 1.6 million euros.

Detecting tornadoes that sweep across Mars. Discovering meteors that fall to Earth. Investigating strange lightning that flashes from Earth's atmosphere into...

Im Focus: Flow phenomena on solid surfaces: Physicists highlight key role played by boundary layer velocity

Physicists from Saarland University and the ESPCI in Paris have shown how liquids on solid surfaces can be made to slide over the surface a bit like a bobsleigh on ice. The key is to apply a coating at the boundary between the liquid and the surface that induces the liquid to slip. This results in an increase in the average flow velocity of the liquid and its throughput. This was demonstrated by studying the behaviour of droplets on surfaces with different coatings as they evolved into the equilibrium state. The results could prove useful in optimizing industrial processes, such as the extrusion of plastics.

The study has been published in the respected academic journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America).

Im Focus: New study: How stable is the West Antarctic Ice Sheet?

Exceeding critical temperature limits in the Southern Ocean may cause the collapse of ice sheets and a sharp rise in sea levels

A future warming of the Southern Ocean caused by rising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere may severely disrupt the stability of the West...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Symposium on Climate Change Adaptation in Africa 2016

12.02.2016 | Event News

Travel grants available: Meet the world’s most proficient mathematicians and computer scientists

09.02.2016 | Event News

AKL’16: Experience Laser Technology Live in Europe´s Largest Laser Application Center!

02.02.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

LIGO confirms RIT's breakthrough prediction of gravitational waves

12.02.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Gene switch may repair DNA and prevent cancer

12.02.2016 | Life Sciences

Using 'Pacemakers' in spinal cord injuries

12.02.2016 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>