WASHINGTON DC: A mechanism that allows the brain to reproduce vivid sensory experiences from memory has been revealed.
Neurobiologists at the University of Toronto shed light on how sensory-rich memories are created and stored in our brains.
Using the odor as a model, the results offered a new perspective on the visualization of the senses in memory and could explain why the loss of smells was recognized as an early symptom of Alzheimer's disease.
The lead author of the study, Afif Aqrabawi, said, "Our results show for the first time how the odors we've encountered in our lives are recreated in memory."
There is a strong connection between memory and the sense of smell – the odor process and the recognition of odors.
Aqrabawi, who studied this compound in mice, found that information about space and time is integrated into an important region of the brain for the sense of smell that is still poorly known and known as the anterior olfactory nucleus (AON).
The AON has a well-documented involvement in Alzheimer's disease, but little is known about its function.
"Given the early degeneration of AON in Alzheimer's disease, our study suggests that the odor nuisance of patients makes it difficult to remember the" when "and" where "odors," said Professor Junchul Kim.
The researchers added that with a better understanding of the neural circuits underlying odor memory, tests can be developed that directly and effectively examine the proper functioning of these circuits.
The full results can be found in the journal Nature Communications.