Friday, December 28, 2012

Brain Conversations

Did you know that the neocortex and hippocampus “talk” to each other during sleep and  even during anesthesia? Researchers at UCLA studied three connected brain regions in mice: the new brain (neocortex), the old brain (hippocampus), and the intermediate brain (entorhinal cortex or EC) that connects the new and the old brains, so called. They discovered that the activity of the entorhinal cortex (EC), a brain region known to be involved in learning, memory, and Alzheimer’s disease behaves as if it’s remembering something during sleep. The EC showed persistent activity even when the brain was under anesthesia. According to researcher Mehta, the results are entirely novel, surprising, and important—since humans spend one-third of their lives sleeping and a lack of sleep results in adverse effects on health, including learning and memory problems. Too bad you can't listen in to those conversations . . .

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