The more we learn about the human brain through science, the more questions we seem to have. There is always room to go further in our understanding of human brain function; the brain is the most complex organ in the human body, responsible for producing and processing thoughts, emotions, experiences, and memories. As scientists consistently seek to gain deeper insight into the innermost workings of the mind, the latest development by an international team of researchers clearly demonstrates that we are moving in the right direction when it comes to decoding the brain.

 

Detailed MRI imaging has allowed researchers to gain deeper insight into memory production in the human brain (sciencedaily.com)

Detailed MRI imaging has allowed researchers to gain deeper insight into memory production in the human brain (sciencedaily.com)

The team of scientists, led by researchers from the University of Magdeburg and the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, has successfully pinpointed, with more precision than ever before, the location in the brain where experiences are converted into memories. The development is groundbreaking, as previous knowledge of how the mind produces memories has always been limited to basic information. This new discovery has allowed researchers to break down memory production into specific circuits within the brain.

 

Describing the findings of the team’s study, director of the Institute of Cognitive Neurology and Dementia Research at the University of Magdeburg, Professor Emrah Düzel, states:

“We have been able to locate the generation of human memories to certain neuronal layers within the hippocampus and the entorhinal cortex. We were able to determine which neuronal layer was active. This revealed if information was directed into the hippocampus or whether it traveled from the hippocampus into the cerebral cortex. Previously used MRI techniques were not precise enough to capture this directional information. Hence, this is the first time we have been able to show where in the brain the doorway to memory is located.”

 

Through the use of highly accurate MRI technology, known as “7 Tesla ultra-high field MRI,” Düzel and his team studied the brains of individuals who volunteered to take part in a memory test for the purpose of the study. The use of the special type of MRI technology ultimately allowed the researchers to examine specific activity within different regions of the brain with unprecedented accuracy, thus providing more detailed insight into the process by which memories are created.

 

This development in the study of memory production in the human mind is extremely promising, not only because of the fact that it demonstrates a new level of understanding regarding the human brain, but because this new knowledge can be extremely useful in a medical sense moving forward.

 

Specifically, a more thorough knowledge on how the mind produces and processes memories could transform the way medicine understands and approaches conditions associated with memory impairment, such as Alzheimer’s or dementia. These new details on memory production could answer questions about how memory impairment comes about in the brain, at what point during the process of memory production and storage trouble actually arises, and what the best way to approach combating these conditions would be.

 

How do you think a more thorough understanding of memory production in the human brain can change medicine? Share your thoughts below or tweet me @tamarahoumi