Memory plays a crucial role in the way we perceive the world around us, and memories and experiences condition our perception of reality. Perception and memory are two key elements of the brain that we need to understand in order to treat different brain pathologies.
The brain’s development depends on the sensory information it receives from the outside world. The senses of sight, hearing and touch all capture stimuli that contribute to the formation and plasticity of neural connections. When there is a loss in sensory stimulation input, neurons and neural circuits in the thalamus and cerebral cortex are significantly reduced. Could strategies be designed to generate neurons with sensory activity and restore damaged neural circuits?
Memories are also closely related to our perception of the world. Understanding the mechanisms of memory formation, consolidation and retrieval is key to finding therapies for neural disorders linked to the generation and retrieval of memories, such as autoimmune encephalitis. These diseases are rare, sudden and cause impaired mental function, but are treatable. They develop when the immune system attacks a protein in the nervous system. The disease appears suddenly and progresses in just days, causing inflammation of the brain that abruptly alters behaviour, and there is often short-term memory loss. What do we know about the brain as regards these diseases? What studies are currently being developed in order to understand the mechanisms of memory formation, consolidation and retrieval? What can be done to treat these pathologies?
Doctors Josep Dalmau and Dra. Guillermina López will discuss the importance of perception and memories in brain research, and will describe the different research projects they are currently engaged in.
Josep Dalmau, ICREA Research Professor and Head of the IDIBAPS - Hospital Clínic de Barcelona Clinical and Experimental Neuroimmunology Research Team.
Guillermina López-Bendito, CSIC Research Professor and Principal Investigator of the Development, Plasticity and Regeneration of Thalamocortical Circuits group of the Institute of Neurosciences of Alicante – CSIC.
Pere Estupinyà, writer and science populariser, director of the TVE programme El cazador de cerebros.
CaixaResearch supported projects: