Bigger isn’t always better, but in this case it might be. Research has found that a large hippocampus gives you a memory boost and may shield you from dementia.
The hippocampus is rooted deep in the brain and deals with a range of things, but it’s also a major seat of neurogenesis; making new brain cells. The seahorse shaped structure plays a leading role in translating your experiences to long term memory and it’s made up of two sides. The left helps you record language, and the right hippocampus deals with spatial memory, like an interior google map.
The seat of memory?
A human hippocampus and fornix resemble a seahorse
The hippocampus is understandably one of the first victims of Alzheimer’s, which inhibits and destroys its ability to encode and store memory.
A new study has sought to analyse the close relationship between dementia and the hippocampus further by monitoring 226 patients with conditions ranging from Alzheimer’s, to mild cognitive impairment and age-related memory loss, These participants were tasked with various memory tasks and their responses were recorded.
Participants with the largest hippocampi did the best
Unsurprisingly individuals with the least impairment performed best overall, but what was more revealing was that hippocampal size was also connected to performance. The size of each side of the organ also showed predictable benefits, boosting spatial or verbal memory.
While the strongest association was between a large right hippocampus and spatial memory, the study raises some interesting questions about specific organs and their effects on disease. As we’ve learnt more about neurogenesis and that our brain can and does make new cells, it may be developing hippocampal boosting treatments could stave off decline.
Read more at Medical Daily