Saturday, 10 December 2011

The neuroanatomy of memory function in the brain

Much of the brain is involved in memory. Key areas are implicated but realistically these areas are reciprocally integrated in complex ways. But in an attempt to summarise, there are six main areas with more detailed divisions within these areas and new areas implicated by ongoing research all the time. The six areas are:

Prefrontal cortex- this areas is thought to be synonmous with working memory and acts as an attentional device for focusing on things to remember. Often memory recall problems are better conceptualised as attential deficits.

The hippocampus- this area of the limbic system is fundamentally synonymous with long term memory and its consolidation. This area is often affected in subcortial dementias. The landmark case on hippocampus lesion was the case of H.M., who displayed chronic amnesia relating to long term memory consolidation.

The medial temporal lobe is often adversly affected in temporal lobe epilepsy and its treatment sits behind the left ear, and is unsurprisingly related to verbal memory.

The amygdala is ancient in the evolutionary development of the human brain. It is involved in linking important powerful emotions to memory. Its dysfunction has been identified in psychopathy, autism and in PTSD.

The striatum is part of the basal ganglia and is involved in skill acquisition related memories.

The entorhinal cortex is thought to be involved in spatial memory process.

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