Brain Region of the Week: Hippocampus

Brain Region of the Week: Medulla Oblongata

This week’s brain region is the hippocampus! Named for the Greek word for seahorse because of its shape, your hippocampus plays an integral role when it comes to the formation of memories – which means you have a LOT to thank it for.

Without your hippocampus, you would be unable to form new memories of things you’ve experienced recently. So damage to that region could negatively affect memory formation. However, studies have shown that patients who damaged only one of their hippocampi could still form memories normally.

Your hippocampus also helps your brain consolidate long-term memories for you. It’s located in your temporal lobe, just under your cerebral cortex. Its bilateral symmetry means that the hippocampus is divided into two halves – which is why you actually have one in each brain hemisphere.

In addition to improving your memory, your hippocampi also play a huge role in your spatial navigation. The hippocampus keeps track of all the places we’ve been. Scientists think that the hippocampus plays a role in how we choose our paths from place to place, as well as how we figure out shortcuts.

Research has also shown that some people’s hippocampi shrink as we age – which means they perform worse on memory tasks. Patients who suffer from schizophrenia or depression can also have shrunken hippocampi. Luckily, taking antidepressants can reverse that shrinkage.  Finally, patients who suffer from Alzheimer’s also suffer from shrinkage in that region. This explains why they’re able to remember their past memories better than what happened to them the day before.

The hippocampus is located within the folds of your brain. So we wouldn’t know what it looked like if we didn’t have X-ray imaging. But we’d be lost without it – you’d not only forget the way to get to your house but also the names and faces of the people you live with. So thank your hippocampus for all that you do!

Enjoyed this? Brush up on last week’s region, the Medulla Oblongata!

 Written by Roselyn Sebastian

Photo Credit: Hey Paul Studios via Compfight cc

This week’s brain region is the hippocampus! Named for the Greek word for seahorse because of its shape, your hippocampus plays an integral role when it comes to the formation of memories – which means you have a LOT to thank it for.

Without your hippocampus, you would be unable to form new memories of things you’ve experienced recently. So damage to that region could negatively affect memory formation. However, studies have shown that patients who damaged only one of their hippocampi could still form memories normally.

Your hippocampus also helps your brain consolidate long-term memories for you. It’s located in your temporal lobe, just under your cerebral cortex. Its bilateral symmetry means that the hippocampus is divided into two halves – which is why you actually have one in each brain hemisphere.

In addition to improving your memory, your hippocampi also play a huge role in your spatial navigation. The hippocampus keeps track of all the places we’ve been. Scientists think that the hippocampus plays a role in how we choose our paths from place to place, as well as how we figure out shortcuts.

Research has also shown that some people’s hippocampi shrink as we age – which means they perform worse on memory tasks. Patients who suffer from schizophrenia or depression can also have shrunken hippocampi. Luckily, taking antidepressants can reverse that shrinkage.  Finally, patients who suffer from Alzheimer’s also suffer from shrinkage in that region. This explains why they’re able to remember their past memories better than what happened to them the day before.

The hippocampus is located within the folds of your brain. So we wouldn’t know what it looked like if we didn’t have X-ray imaging. But we’d be lost without it – you’d not only forget the way to get to your house but also the names and faces of the people you live with. So thank your hippocampus for all that you do!

Enjoyed this? Brush up on last week’s region, the Medulla Oblongata!

 Written by Roselyn Sebastian

Photo Credit: Hey Paul Studios via Compfight cc

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