Researchers Probe Short-Term Memory Formation, a Critical Element in Alzheimer’s

Researchers Probe Short-Term Memory Formation, a Critical Element in Alzheimer’s
Researchers have linked a specific set of neurons with short-term memory, in a finding that may help develop novel treatments for Alzheimer's disease and other illnesses characterized by memory decline. Their study, “Persistently Active Neurons in Human Medial Frontal and Medial Temporal Lobe Support Working Memory,” appeared in the journal Nature Neuroscience. Short-term memory, or working memory, is the capacity to hold a small amount of information for a brief period. It is essential for making decisions and mental calculations and is also the basis of memory formation. Short-term memory depends on the continuous activity of neurons (known as persistent neuronal activity) from different brain areas, yet the contribution of each area has eluded scientists. “This study is the first clear demonstration of precisely how human brain cells work to create and recall short-term memories,” Ueli Rutishauser, PhD, the study's senior author, said in a news release. “Confirmation of this process and the specific brain regions involved is a critical step in developing meaningful treatments for memory disorders that affect millions of Americans.” Researchers aimed to investigate the properties of persistent neuronal activity and its relationship to behavior and recorded single neurons in epilepsy patients. To do so, they installed electrodes across the heads of 13 patients to
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