According to a recent article published by Science Daily, new research from the University of California Los Angles and Australian scientists may lead to breakthroughs in memory for victims of traumatic brain injury (TBI). The article outlines results from clinical studies that studied how the brain learns and stores memories. In the study, scientists have shown that the way the brain first captures events or situations is different from how it actually stores subsequent memories.
Regular memories are formed in the hippocampus part of the brain. This area is also one of the most vulnerable sections of the brain, and is most often damaged through traumatic injury, stroke, lack of oxygen or by Alzheimer’s disease. When a memory is initially formed, scientists have located a particular protein that is involved in synaptic transmission. This protein is called the NMDA receptor.
According to researchers, activation of the NMDA receptor allows calcium to enter a neuron, which subsequently enables a whole chain of molecular reactions that help solidify memories of experiences. Theories about this process hypothesize that learning simply cannot occur without these receptors, which is a breakthrough in the way we think about brain injuries.
Research suggests, then, that those who have suffered damage to the hippocampus can now be treated with processes that focus on the NMDA receptor as opposed to the normal cognitive enhancers given to TBI and Alzheimer’s patients. If you or someone on you love has suffered a traumatic brain injury in an accident, you should contact a lawyer to determine if you are owed compensation that could pay for your TBI treatments.