Hippocampus and Learning

James L. Olds olds at anatomy.org
Sat Nov 9 17:32:23 EST 1996

James Woodson <jwoodson at ucla.edu> wrote in article

> NEW:  The phenomenon(s) of long term sensitization or even of long-term
> potentiation (LTP) in the hippocampus point toward a putative and highly
> debatable mechanism of neural plasticity underlying learning.  Both forms
> of adaptation have been found in the hippocampus.  However, no one has
> completely justified LTP as a mechanism of STORAGE. 


I've always viewed LTP as a phenomenon produced by human experimenters in
the laboratory on brain tissue (either in vivo or in vitro). Unfortunately,
for fifteen years or so, many people started their introductions with words
to the effect that it equaled learning and memory. I viewed this as a big
mistake then...and of course now, with gene-knock out experiments showing a
clear disassociation between LTP and spatial maze learning...my viewpoint
is gaining in popularity. Two years ago at the Cold Spring Harbor Learning
and Memory Conference we had a straw vote among all the participants on
whether, when all was said and done...some time in the future....LTP would
be found to have *anything* to do with mnemonic function. Interestingly 50%
of the participants...even at that time....voted no. Perhaps you were
there? I came in for the day of my talk...but had to leave early

Jim Olds Jr.

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