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Activation of the prefrontal cortex improves working memory
Date:4/1/2009

This release is available in Spanish.

Psychologists and neurologists invest considerable effort in the study of working memory. In terms of information retention, there is a difference between long-term memory, which is affected in diseases such as Alzheimer, and short-term or working memory, which allows us to make immediate decisions or structure a discourse. This more ephemeral memory is affected in diseases such as schizophrenia and depression, although a cause-effect relationship has not been established. People with a higher working-memory capacity score higher on intelligence tests and, for this reason, it is thought that it may be intimately linked to people's cognitive ability. A study by IDIBAPS uses computational systems neurobiology models and functional magnetic resonance imaging scans to show that there are two parts of the cerebral cortex with highly differentiated roles implicated in this type of memory. The results of the study were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), in an article headed by Dr. Albert Compte of the Systems Neuroscience team of the Institut d'Investigacions Biomdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), and with Fredrik Edin as the first author. This study was carried out in collaboration with two other laboratories of the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, led by professors Torkel Klingberg and Jesper Tegnr.

Thanks to complex computer algorithms, it is possible to simulate a virtual network in which a large number of neurons interact. These models can simulate the functioning of the structures in our brains. According to the computer model published in PNAS, when the working memory needs to be increased, the prefrontal cortex reinforces the activation of the parietal cortex, in which the information is temporarily stored. A brief stimulus t
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Contact: Alex Argemi
aargemi@clinic.ub.es
34-932-275-700
IDIBAPS - Institut d'Investigacions Biomdiques August Pi i Sunyer
Source:Eurekalert

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