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 does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

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: Strathclyde-led research develops world's highest gain high-power laser amplifier

The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.

The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New insights into the ancestors of all complex life

29.05.2017 | Earth Sciences

New photocatalyst speeds up the conversion of carbon dioxide into chemical resources

29.05.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA's SDO sees partial eclipse in space

29.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>