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Found “time cells” in the human brain

New research suggests that the “time cell,” believed to represent temporal information, may be the glue that holds our memories together in the right order.

Evidence for these types of “time cells,” or neurons in the brain’s “hippocampus,” tracking this sequence has already been found in mice, where combinations of neurons are believed to help remember events and to plan sequences of actions, but less is known about how episodic memory is encoded in the human brain.

To clarify, a team led by neuroscientist Leila Reddy from the Center for Research on Brain and Cognition (CerCo) in France monitored electrical activity in the brains of 15 patients with epilepsy. They used microelectrodes implanted in the hippocampus for monitoring.

The researchers explain: “Creating episodic memories requires linking the discrete events of an experience to temporal fidelity. Given the importance of the hippocampus in learning sequence order and judging temporal order, we tested whether neurons in the human hippocampus represent temporal information as participants learn about it. order of a sequence of elements “.

Experiments conducted during medical examinations use electrodes to determine the source of the seizures in the brain of the person being monitored.

In the experiments, participants were presented with a sequence of images in a predetermined order and asked to memorize the sequence.

With the sessions, the electrodes register specific neurons in the hippocampus that trigger responses to the experience, both during specific times when the images are displayed, in a vacuum when there is no such thing as what images are. been displayed and at breaks, where participants were asked to predict which image should be displayed alongside an already displayed footage.

According to the researchers, the neurons involved are proof of “temporal cells”: “neurons whose activity is regulated by the temporal context over a well-defined period of time”.

Some of these neurons were actively involved in memorizing or recalling image sequences in the experiments, the researchers said, but some were also active in the absence of visual stimuli, suggesting they were working to encode the timeline even when nothing specific is happening.

It is observed that the “time cells” are triggered at successive times during these empty periods. The time modulation during these intervals cannot be driven by external events, rather they appear to represent an evolving time signal due to changes in the patient’s experience during this waiting period, “the researchers said.

The temporal cells of the human brain are “multidimensional”, capable of encoding temporal information but also of responding to different types of sensory information or stimuli.

The team suggests that it is possible that the multidimensional behavior of these temporal neurons is what records the “what”, “where” and “when” of the experience, a combination of factors brought together to create a coherent memory. from a jumble of entries.

“At the heart of our past reliving experience is our ability to vividly recall specific events that occurred in a particular location and in a particular chronological order. Their outcome. I provide further evidence that the neurons of l The human hippocampus represents the flow of time in an experiment, “the researchers pointed out.

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