Working memory

JValla jvalla at
Wed Mar 18 11:23:47 EST 1998

In article <1998031807310801.CAA15177 at>, 
uwilwantme at says...
>Have we forgotten that you cannot completely localize function to ONE area of
>the brain? 

Bravo!  It is simplistic and dogmatic to go on shouting that working memory is 
a "hippocampal function" or a "prefrontal function" when it is clear that 
numerous areas must work together (e.g., the hippocampus AND the prefrontal 
cortex, among others).  Learning, "memory," and plasticity take place 
throughout the nervous system.  Mishkin's (and other's) monkey lesions over the 
past 20-30 years have only shown that disrupting a circuit by removing its 
elements, or by disrupting normal brain function, can interfere with memory.

>NMDA receptors are
>involved in a putative molecular model of learning and memory, LTP.  
>when you interfere with LTP, you interfere with memory.  Interestingly, LTP
>occurs primarily in the hippocampus and most is NMDA receptor dependent.   I
>don't think you can rule out the involvement of the hippocampus with the
>molecular  information out there.

LTP probably exists as a means for plasticity--whether that plasticity is for 
learning and memory, that's another story.  (then there's the debate that all 
plasticity is learning...).  LTP and LTD have been shown to occur in several 
brain areas (e.g., hippocampus, cortex, cerebellum...).  Its hard to deny that 
the hippocampus is involved, but its only one node on the circuit.


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