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Hong Kong Scientists Unveil New Functions of Hippocampus

Sep 19, 2017     Email"> PrintText Size

Researchers from the University of Hong Kong on Monday announced the discovery of new functions of the hippocampus, an area responsible for memory and navigation in the brain.

Rodent experiments done by a research team led by Ed X. Wu, a biomedical engineering professor of the university, revealed that low-frequency activities in the hippocampus can drive brain-wide functional connectivity in the cerebral cortex and enhance sensory responses.

These results also suggest that low-frequency activities in the hippocampus can enhance learning and memory since low-frequency activities usually occur during slow-wave sleep which has been associated with learning and memory.

Slow-wave sleep, often referred as deep sleep, is a state that we usually enter several times each night and is necessary for survival.

The findings are a major step in furthering fundamental understanding of the origins and roles of brain-wide functional connectivity, according to the researchers.

Furthermore, these findings provide insights for early diagnosis and enhanced treatment of brain diseases including Alzheimer's disease, dementia, epilepsy, schizophrenia, transient global amnesia, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The findings have recently been published in the prestigious international academic journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) in August 2017. (Xinhua)

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(Editor: LIU Jia)

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