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Image of the Day: Memory Jogger

Scientists can livestream how the mouse brain’s hippocampus maps the physical world and accesses those memories.  

By Sukanya Charuchandra | June 12, 2018

The mouse moves through the virtual world of a video game with the help of a Styrofoam ball that floats on compressed air.THOMAS HAINMÜLLER, MARLENE BARTOS Researchers looked into the brains of live mice experiencing a virtual environment to see how neurons were altered through the process of memory consolidation, according to research published June 6 in Nature.  

A look into memory: A video recording shows neurons begin to flash as soon as they are activated.THOMAS HAINMÜLLER, MARLENE BARTOS

“As the mouse is getting to know its environment, we use a special microscope to look from the outside into its brain and we record the activities of its nerve cells on video,” Thomas Hainmüller, a coauthor on the study, says in a statement. He and his colleague found that the mouse’s location within the game would trigger specific neurons among a group of cells that was engineered to light up when activated. The resulting neural map reflected memories of different areas within the virtual environment.

See “Virtual Reality May Revolutionize Brain Science

T. Hainmueller, M. Bartos, “Parallel emergence of stable and dynamic memory engrams in the hippocampus,” Nature, doi:10.1038/s41586-018-0191-2, 2018.