Specific patterns of brain activity are thought to underlie specific processes or computations important for various mental faculties, such as memory. One such “brain signal” that has received a lot of attention recently is known as a “sharp wave ripple”—a short, wave-shaped burst of high-frequency oscillations.
Researchers originally identified ripples in the hippocampus, a region crucially involved in memory and navigation, as central to diverting recollections to long-term memory during sleep. Then a 2012 study by neuroscientists at the University of California, San Francisco, led by Loren Frank and Shantanu Jadhav, the latter now at Brandeis University, showed that the ripples also play a role in memory while awake. The researchers used electrical pulses to disrupt ripples in rodents’ brains, and showed that, by doing so, performance in a memory task was reduced. However, nobody had manipulated ripples to enhance memory—until now, that is.
Read the full article here and see Antonio’s related study below.
Long-duration Hippocampal Sharp Wave Ripples Improve Memory Fernández-Ruiz A, Oliva A, Fermino de Oliveira E, Rocha-Almeida F, Tinlgey D, Buzsáki G.. Science, June 2019. [Link] [Supplemental]