‘Zone of Uncertainty’ in the Brain Influences its Ability to Form New Memories
[Source: Science Daily]
The neocortex is the largest and most complex part of the brain and has long been considered the ultimate storage site for long-term memories. But how are traces of past events and experiences laid down there? Researchers at the University of Freiburg Medical School led by Prof. Dr. Johannes Letzkus and the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research have discovered that a little-studied area of the brain, the “zone of uncertainty” or “zona incerta,” communicates with the neocortex in unconventional ways to rapidly control memory formation. Their work provides the first functional analysis of how long-range inhibition shapes information processing in the neocortex. The signals identified in this study are likely critical not only for memory, but also for a number of additional brain functions, such as attention. The results have just been published in the journal Neuron.
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