The hippocampus is part of the medial temporal lobe, known to play a major role in conscious memory. Damage to the medial temporal lobe due to illnesses such as Herpes Simplex Encephalitis, Meningitis and Alzheimer's disease, can cause loss of memories acquired prior to brain damage – known as retrograde amnesia - and an inability to acquire new long-term memories – known as anterograde amnesia.
However, scientists are unsure of the exact role of the hippocampus. Some neuroscientists argue that the hippocampus is critical for all types of conscious memory while others claim it is only involved in recollection and that simple recognition can be performed by other regions of the brain like the outer layer, the cortex. This is the first time that two patients with damage restricted to this area of the brain have been assessed with the same tests in the same lab and they were seen to show strikingly different patterns of memory performance.
Dr Juliet Holdstock, from the University’s School of Psychology, said: “Both patients had suffered anoxia, a disruption of the supply of oxygen to the brain; one as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning and the other following complications during surgery. Both patients had brain damage restricted to the hippocampus. One patient showed no evidence of a memory deficit at all while the other had difficulty recalling newly learned information. The latter remained able to recognise recently studied pictures and words.”
“We looked at how hippocampal damage affected recall and recognition. The memory pattern differences seen between the two patients, and between them and others previously observed, could be due to subtle differences in brain pathology. It is possible that the exact location of the damage within the hippocampus may be critical or that some patients may have additional undetected damage in brain regions close to the hippocampus that may also affect their memory.
“Such small differences in brain pathology cannot be detected by even the most state-of-the-art imaging equipment that we have today. Our research has shown that selective damage to the hippocampus can produce a variety of memory outcomes ranging from no memory deficit at all to an impairment of all aspects of conscious memory.”
Laura Johnson | alfa
Mechanism Discovered to Activate the Immune System against Bacteria and Regulate the Microbiome
13.02.2019 | Universitätsklinikum Tübingen
For the first time, an international team of scientists based in Regensburg, Germany, has recorded the orbitals of single molecules in different charge states in a novel type of microscopy. The research findings are published under the title “Mapping orbital changes upon electron transfer with tunneling microscopy on insulators” in the prestigious journal “Nature”.
The building blocks of matter surrounding us are atoms and molecules. The properties of that matter, however, are often not set by these building blocks...
Scientists at the University of Konstanz identify fierce competition between the human immune system and bacterial pathogens
Cell biologists from the University of Konstanz shed light on a recent evolutionary process in the human immune system and publish their findings in the...
Laser physicists have taken snapshots of carbon molecules C₆₀ showing how they transform in intense infrared light
When carbon molecules C₆₀ are exposed to an intense infrared light, they change their ball-like structure to a more elongated version. This has now been...
The so-called Abelian sandpile model has been studied by scientists for more than 30 years to better understand a physical phenomenon called self-organized...
Physicists from the University of Basel have developed a new method to examine the elasticity and binding properties of DNA molecules on a surface at extremely low temperatures. With a combination of cryo-force spectroscopy and computer simulations, they were able to show that DNA molecules behave like a chain of small coil springs. The researchers reported their findings in Nature Communications.
DNA is not only a popular research topic because it contains the blueprint for life – it can also be used to produce tiny components for technical applications.
11.02.2019 | Event News
30.01.2019 | Event News
16.01.2019 | Event News
15.02.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
15.02.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
15.02.2019 | Life Sciences