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Using virtual reality to identify brain areas involved in memory

Virtual reality is helping neuroscientists get new insight into how different brain areas assemble memories in context. Researchers used a virtual reality environment to train subjects, then showed that different areas of the hippocampus are activated for different types of memories. It's well known that one memory can trigger related memories. We remember specific events with context -- when and where it happened, who was there. Different memories can have specific context, as well as information that is the same between memories -- for example, events that occurred in the same location. A better understanding of how memories are formed, stored and recalled could eventually lead to better diagnosis and treatment for memory problems in aging or degenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease.

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