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New insights on how brain develops memories

Posted on Apr 17 2014 | IANS

Washington, April 17 : In a key study that may give insights into disorders such as schizophrenia and depression, scientists have studied our ability to store memories in brain during childhood.

New research from University of California, Davis is exploring how these brain regions develop at this crucial time.

Located deep in the middle of the brain, the hippocampus plays a key role in forming memories.

"For a long time it was assumed that the hippocampus did not develop at all after the first couple of years of life," said Joshua Lee, a graduate student at University of California.

Earlier, improvements in memory were thought to be owing to changes in the brain's outer layers, or cortex, that manage attention and strategies.

Lee and colleagues used magnetic resonance imaging to map the hippocampus in 39 children aged eight to 14 years.

While subfields of the hippocampus have been mapped in adult humans and animal studies, it was the first time that they have been measured in children.

"This is really important to us, because it allows us to understand the heterogeneity along the hippocampus, which has been examined in human adults and other species," added professor Simona Ghetti from the Centre for Mind and Brain.

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