The most detailed memory bank map of our brain reveals something amazing!

Scientists have created the most detailed map of the neural highways that connect the gray matter memory bank – the hippocampus – with the rest of the brain, revealing unexpected patterns of connections between regions.

“We were surprised to find fewer connections between the hippocampus and the frontal cortex and more connections to early visual processing areas than we expected,” says University of Sydney psychologist Marshall Dalton.

Although there is still debate about the role of the hippocampus in memory, neuroscientists believe that it plays a key role in building memory and integrating it with our cognition, which allows us to make decisions about the future.

A better understanding of how the hippocampus functions in context with other areas of the brain is needed to one day help us deal with memory decline.

Using a new imaging technique called diffusion-weighted imaging — a type of MRI that uses the diffusion of water molecules through tissue to create contrast — Dalton and his colleagues created a high-resolution map of the connections between the hippocampus and the cerebral cortex. out of seven people.

“Now we’ve developed a specially designed method that allows us to confirm where different areas of the cortex connect within the hippocampus,” says Dalton. which are basically communication pathways between different areas of the brain.”

The researchers found that the hippocampus has different messaging networks, each connected to specific areas of the cortex. Our previous knowledge of these connections comes from the anatomy of the primate brain, and the resulting map of the brain largely matches it.

But the researchers found much higher levels of connectivity in the visual processing area of ​​the human brain and lower levels in areas of the frontal cortex.

Post-mortem analysis of non-human primates can reveal fine details down to the cellular level, so we may not have been able to identify all of these connections in humans yet.

Or perhaps the human hippocampus has fewer connections to the frontal areas than we expected and more connections to the visual areas of the brain, Dalton explains. This makes sense, given that the hippocampus plays an important role not only in memory, but also in imagination. and our ability to form mental images in our eyes.”

Other recent studies have also found connections between these brain regions. The team is curious to see if similar patterns are consistent across demographics.

“With the expansion of the neocortex, humans may have evolved different communication patterns to facilitate human memory and visualization functions, which in turn can support human creativity,” Dalton continues.

Search published in electronic life.

Source: Science Alert