Sunday, November 4, 2012
Is Your EC Working?
Did you know that the entorhinal cortex (EC) is one of the first brain areas to be affected in Alzheimer’s Disease? This little organ functions as a hub in a widespread brain network for memory and navigation and is the main interface between the hippocampus and the neocortex. This EC-hippocampus system plays a key role in autobiographical/declarative/episodic memories and in particular spatial memories including memory formation, consolidation, and optimization in sleep. The EC also plays a role in spatial directional activity. Studies of humans playing video games found path cells in the EC, the activity of which indicated whether the person was taking a clockwise or counterclockwise path. Such EC direction-path cells show this directional activity regardless of the location in which people experience themselves. This differs from place cells in the hippocampus that are activated by specific locations.