memory

Having a larger hippocampus doesn’t always reliably predict learning and memory abilities in older adults, research suggests. It’s normal for the hippocampus — a curved, seahorse-shaped structure embedded deep in the brain — to shrink as we age, but it’s much more pronounced in people with mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists long believed… Read more

To find food and avoid danger in changing environments, animals need to be able to learn to associate specific sensory stimuli, such as odors, with reward or punishment. Such memories must also adapt to reflect new circumstances. How is such memory flexibility achieved? An excellent model system for studying these questions is the fruit fly… Read more

A newly published review describes the rapid progress scientists have been making over the last dozen years in identifying, characterizing and even manipulating engrams, as well as the major outstanding questions of the field. Although German zoologist and evolutionary biologist Richard Semon introduced the concept of the engram 115 years ago to propose a neural… Read more

In decades of studying how neural circuits in the brain’s visual cortex adapt to experience, MIT Professor Mark Bear’s lab has followed the science wherever it has led. The journey yielded the discovery of cellular mechanisms serving visual recognition memory, in which the brain learns what sights are familiar so it can focus on what’s… Read more

A one-off dose of ketamine could help heavy drinkers reduce their alcohol intake, according to a small experimental study[1] from University College London. Giving a shot of ketamine to heavy drinkers after reactivating their drinking-related memories led to a rapid decrease in urges to drink and a prolonged decrease in alcohol intake over nine months… Read more