Thursday, July 19, 2007

Remembering small pattern differences.

Bannerman and Sprengel discuss (PDF here) and offer perspective on work of McHugh et al. from Tonegawa's laboratory showing synaptic details of how the mouse hippocampus carries out pattern separation. The findings explain how we detect small changes in our environment, perhaps allowing us to update and guide our choices. They offer a nice graphic of the hippocampus, which is central in this processes.
Knowing what, when, and where. In the mouse brain, the dentate gyrus region of the hippocampus can detect small changes in the animal's spatial environment and differentiate between recent experiences that occur in the same place. The white arrows trace a path of signaling between different regions of the hippocampus. Sensory information can enter the hippocampus from the entorhinal cortex and is sent back to the entorhinal cortex after processing.

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