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Memory and Alzheimer's: Towards a better comprehension of the dynamic mechanisms
Date:8/31/2014

This news release is available in French.

Montral, August 31, 2014 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
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Contact: Florence Meney
florence.meney@douglas.mcgill.ca
Douglas Mental Health University Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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