The hippocampus is vital to the development, organization, and storage of new memories, as well as in the association of certain sensations and emotions with these memories. Have you ever observed how a certain scent can elicit a strong memory? In this connection, the hippocampus plays a role.
It is an advanced brain structure located deep within the temporal lobe. It plays an important role in learning and memory. However it is a malleable and sensitive structure that can be harm by a variety of stimuli. According to research, it is also affect by a variety of neurological and psychiatric disorders. A lot has been learn in the last decade or so about conditions that affect the hippocampus and induce alterations ranging from molecules to morphological features.
What Exactly Is the Hippocampus?
It is a comparatively tiny, curved structure in the brain that is important in the limbic system. The hippocampus is associate with the formation of new memories, as well as learning and emotion.
Different subregions of the hippocampus also to play important roles in types of memory, according to research.
Memory for Place
It back part produce spatial memories. The ability to navigate the complex mazes of big city streets has been link to the development of the hippocampus’s rear region, according to studies of London cab drivers.
It also plays role in in memory consolidation while sleeping. According to studies published in 2004, increased hippocampal activity during sleep after some type of training or learning experience leads to better memory of the material the following day
Transfer of Memory
Memories are not long-term preserve in the hippocampus. Instead, it is thought that the hippocampus functions as a sort of shipping center, receiving information, enrolling it, and temporarily storing it before sending it off to be filed and stored in long-term memory. Sleep play an important role in this regard.
You have two hippocampi because the brain is lateralize and symmetrical. They seem to be about an inch and a half inside your head, just above each ear.
What if the hippocampus is too small?
Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and stress are all believed to be correlate with a smaller hippocampus. The size of the hippocampus in Alzheimer’s disease can be use to track the disease’s progression. According to some researchers, the hippocampus of people who are in depression can shrink by up to 20%Trusted Source.
According to a review of studies, the hippocampus in people with severe depression may be 10% smaller than in those without depression. Cushing’s disease is accompany by a series of symptoms that are link to elevate levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. One of these symptoms is a shrinkage of the hippocampus. According to a monkey study, the size of the hippocampus is 54 percent heritable. However, because the hippocampus keeps producing neurons throughout adulthood, the connection remains a mystery. It is also unclear whether a small hippocampus is an actual reason or a result of certain conditions.
The Effects of Hippocampus Damage
When the it is damaged as a result of disease or injury, it can affect a person’s experiences as well as their ability to form precious connections. Damage to the hippocampus can have a particularly negative impact on memory recall, or the ability to remember instructions, locations, and orientations.
Because the it is so important in the formation of memories and experiences, damage to this area of the brain can have long-term consequences for certain types of memory. Damage to the hippocampus has been discovere during post-mortem examinations of amnesia patients’ brains. Such damage is link with difficulties in forming explicit memories such as names, dates, and events. The precise impact of damage changes base on which hippocampus is affect. According to mouse studies, damage to the left hippocampus impairs recall of verbal information, whereas damage to the right hippocampus impairs recall of visual information.
Words of advice
So, how can you safeguard your hippocampus? According to research, regular exercise can help safeguard it from the negative effects of aging. Long-term stress can also hurt the it so learning stress management techniques may help protect this part of your brain.
According to some research, it is damage as a result of the stress associated with PTSD. People with This disorder have smaller hippocampi than those who do not have PTSD.
The hippocampus’s role can be affected by several factors, including:
Age can also have a significant impact on how well it functions. According to MRI scans of human brains, the human hippocampus gets smaller by around 13% between the ages of 30 and 80. Those who suffer from such a loss may experience significant declines in cognitive performance. The onset of Alzheimer’s disease is link to cell degeneration in the hippocampus.
It could also play a part in the development of addictions. Because drugs and alcohol interfere with the central nervous system, it stores memories of pleasurable experiences. It may also aid in the formation of memories of environmental cues associate with drug use, which can lead to intense cravings when these cues are experience again.
The hippocampus is an advanced brain structure located deep within the temporal lobe. Hippocampus plays an important function in the brain. So, it is a malleable and sensitive structure that can be harm by a variety of stimuli. According to research, it is also affect by a variety of neuropsychiatric disorders. A lot has been learn in the last decade or so about conditions that affect it and induce alterations ranging from particles to morphological features.
Since the biological basis of depression has been discovere, evidence has accumulate that long-term depression can cause hippocampus volume loss. Furthermore, the duration of depression has been link to the severity of hippocampal atrophy. Evidence suggests that the atrophy caused by this process may be permanent and last a long time even after the depression has subsided. It is propose that the effective disruption seen in depression. It is the result of prolonged stress caused by depression. In this case, cell volume contraction and/or suppression of neuronal development could be to blame.
“There is reason to believe that hippocampus disruption is responsible for producing psychotic symptoms in schizophrenia.”
Donald R. Robert (1963)
One of the most significant findings in MRI of schizophrenic patients is a reduction in hippocampal volume. There have also been functional and biochemical abnormalities discovered. Though the pathophysiology of schizophrenia was initially focused primarily on the prefrontal cortex, it has been considered in the last 20 years or so. There is now compelling evidence that anatomical and functional abnormalities in the hippocampus of schizophrenic patients are caused by neuronal disturbances. MRI, PET, and MRS studies of schizophrenia-related hippocampus disturbances have yielded evidence.
The Hippocampus’s History
Because the structure resembles the shape of a sea horse, the term hippocampus is derived from the Greek word hippokampus (hippo meaning “horse” and kampos meaning “sea monster”). Julius Caesar Aranzi, an anatomist, is the first one to describe the structure. The hippocampus is among the most studied areas of the brain because it has been known and observed for centuries.
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