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Researchers Study How Brain Depicts Time When Routing Long-Term Memories

A recent study by UofT (University of Toronto) showed an essential step in recognizing the mystery behind how the brain programs time when long-term memories are created. Scientists understand how the brain accumulates information concerning the objects, people, or location of particular events in creating long-term memories, but comparatively little is known regarding how the human brain routes time. The research is the first one of its kind to show that the human hippocampus is responsive to time information on small timescales. Andy Lee—Associate Professor—stated, “Our long-term reminiscence for incidents we have experienced is made up of various information and time is a crucial component of that.”

While there is a study that shows how the brain routes the sequence of events, there was no solid evidence that the human hippocampus is in any way responsive to time information on small timescales lasting seconds. “We only concentrated on short time-scales, so how this building block merges with others to form a memory, no one really knows,” stated Lee, whose skill is in using techniques like fMRI—a neuroimaging method that calculates brain activity on the basis of blood flow—to discover the processes behind memory, mainly in the hippocampus.

On a similar note, recently, a study showed MRI scans revealed how the brain defends memories. Two different parts of the human brain—the hippocampus and the neocortex—have been revealed to aid protect the memories from meddling with one another. Scientists from the WIN (Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging) have shown the correct neural systems that make accurate memory recall possible. The research group gave contestants memory tasks to do in the MRI scanner. The findings suggested that a minimum of two different brain regions are engaged in intervening memory interference.