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The Secret of Autobiographical Memory is in Assembly of Cells

Of all forms of memory, episodic memory is the most intimate. We recall the sequences of events that happen to us — a marriage, a visit to a foreign country, a personal achievement — in great autobiographical detail. But scientists have disagreed about the most important elements the brain uses to encode these episodes and consolidate them during sleep. A group of Yale scientists, however, reports that it is the size and shape of neuronal assemblies — not the strength of signals processed by neurons or the order in which neurons fire — that are the most crucial elements in our ability to record past events.

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  • Early development of memory for space and time

    By observing how newborn rats first navigate and begin to remember the environments they are born into, researchers have gained new insight into how brains develop the ability to turn experiences into memory.

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  • Yale researchers track the birth of memories

    How and when the ability to form and store memories arises are topics of great interest to neuroscientists. Now Yale researchers have identified three distinct stages in brain development that occur before episodic memories can form.

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  • Generative predictive codes by multiplexed hippocampal neuronal tuplets

    George Dragoi, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and of Neuroscience, is the senior author of a study published in Neuron that shows that neurons in the brain area responsible for the formation of episodic memories are organized into modules of short sequence motifs whose combination into extended sequences could generate predictive and recall codes with large capacity for rapid encoding and recall of distinct episodic experiences.

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  • Memory’s marvels explained by cellular modules

    How do house hunters who visit 20 homes daily still recall details of the master bedroom of a specific one? Our memories can perform this neat trick because of the existence of modules of cells preformed based on prior experiences that can be triggered and recombined in the hippocampus to rapidly encode new experiences, suggests a new study by Yale researchers.

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  • Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology, 2014

    The 2014 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology was awarded to John O'Keefe, Edvard Moser, and May-Britt Moser for their discovery of place cells in the hippocampus and grid cells in the medial entorhinal cortex.

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  • The 'Preplay' Button

    Nature’s neuroscience podcast reporter Kerri Smith interviews via telephone George Dragoi regarding the research paper “Preplay of future place cell sequences by hippocampal cellular assemblies” which appeared in the Jan. 20, 2011 issue of Nature. (The interview begins at 12:11)

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