December 29, 2022

New Findings on Memory Impairment in Epilepsy

Article published by Science Daily

People with chronic epilepsy often experience impaired memory. Researchers have now found a mechanism in mice that could explain these deficits.

Suppose you go to visit an acquaintance you have not been to see in a long time. Nevertheless, you ring the correct doorbell without hesitation: The apple tree in the front yard with the wooden birdhouse next to it, the bright red painted fence, the clinkered facade — all this signals that you are in the right place.

Each place has numerous characteristics that distinguish it and make it unmistakable as a whole. In order to remember a place, we therefore need to store the combination of these features (this can also include sounds or smells). Because only then can we confidently recognize it when we visit it again, and tell it apart from similar places.

It is possible that this retention of the exact combination of features is impaired in people with chronic epilepsy. At least the findings of the current study point in this direction. “In the study, we looked at neurons in the hippocampus of mice,” explains neuroscientist Dr. Nicola Masala of the Institute of Experimental Epileptology and Cognitive Sciences at the University Hospital Bonn.