How Lasting Memories are created in Brain?
In a study conducted by Northwestern University where they analyzed the brain recording of children and adolescents they found that as brains mature, the precise ways by which two key memory regions in the brain communicate make us better at forming lasting memories. The findings also suggest how brains learn to multitask with age. The study innovated the use of intracranial electroencephalogram (iEEG) on pediatric patients to examine how brain development supports memory development.
The scientists found a link between how the brains of people aged 5 to 21 were developing and how well they were able to form memories throughout that 16-year period. For example, younger children, whose brains were not as developed as the adolescent participants, weren’t able to form as many memories as some adolescents. The study focused on communication between two regions of the brain that play a key role in supporting memory formation: the medial temporal lobe (MTL) and prefrontal cortex (PFC). To learn how these regions talk to one another, the scientists analyzed two brain signals — a slowly oscillating brain wave and a faster oscillating one — that enable communication between regions. The rhythms dictated whether memory was successfully formed and differentiated top-performing adolescents from lower-performing adolescents and children.
There appear to be age differences in fast and slow theta oscillations—rhythms in the brain that help with cognition, behavior, learning, and memory. The slow theta frequency slows down with age, and the fast get faster. These rhythms seemed to diverge with age so that they were similar in 5-year-olds and different in 20-year-olds. The fact that key memory regions are interacting at both frequencies suggests how your brain is learning to multitask as you get older.