Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Yesterday, today and tomorrow: Mount Sinai researchers are making sense of episodic memory

18.12.2003


Many of our actions are guided by past experiences combined with insight into the future. A major mystery of biology involves understanding how brain cells can create a representation that extends backward and forward through time. A new study conducted by researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine published in the December 18th issue of Neuron begins to unravel the brain activity that underlies concurrent processing of the recent past, the present and the imminent future.



Memories that are organized by time and context are known as episodic memory. Dr. Matthew L. Shapiro, Associate Professor of Neurobiology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and leader of the study offers the following example. "Imagine driving to work, parking your car, and taking an elevator to your office. During the day you may take the elevator several times without thinking of your car. Only when the end of the day arrives and you descend in the elevator to go home do you remember where your car is parked. In the present moment in the elevator, the past guides your future action." To examine the brain processes involved in such episodic memories, Drs. Shapiro and Ferbinteanu examined cellular activity within the brain while rats searched for food in a maze where the starting and ending point was varied.

The researchers examined activity in the hippocampus, a brain region that is key for memory. The hippocampus contains cells, called place cells, which become more active in response to a particular spatial location. "We found that the activity of the place cells showed something very interesting while the rats performed the task. Some cells signaled location alone but others were additionally sensitive to recent or impending events," explains Dr. Ferbinteanu. "These cells maintained spatial selectivity, but this activity depended upon where the animal had just been or where it intended to go." Therefore, the hippocampus can support episodic memory by creating patterns of cellular activity for events within a temporal context.


"The pattern of cell firing suggests a model of how the hippocampus helps form episodic memories," suggests Dr. Shapiro. "When you park your car, hippocampal neurons fire in a pattern that includes location. When the time has come to go home, the goal in the elevator is to find the car. This goal activates cells in the hippocampus that did not fire during prior trips in the elevator that day, but form a new pattern that perhaps includes the visual and verbal images that guide recollection and future action." Further studies are needed to determine how the brain activates and decodes the signals that simultaneously integrate the past, present, and future.

Debra Kaplan | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.mountsinai.org/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New risk factors for anxiety disorders
24.02.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers
24.02.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>