These ‘time cells’ put your memories in order2 min readReading Time: 2 minutes
When a major event occurs in our lives, we tend to remember the finer details and sequence of events leading up to the said event. For example, if you had a minor accident while playing, you’ll remember just what you were doing before that, how hard you fell, what the surface you fell on was like, and so on. This is what is known as an ‘episodic memory’. However, until recently, scientists weren’t sure how this was possible.
Researchers have now identified the exact cells in the human brain that make these episodic memories possible! The cells, called ‘time cells’, have a unique job – they place time stamps of sorts on events or experiences as they are being formed. This is how we remember the exact sequence of events, and in the right order.
Dr Bradley Lega, one of the key researchers part of the team that conducted the study said these time cells put our memories in order. While time cells were discovered in rodents decades ago, their discovery in human brains is a breakthrough. A study was conducted on 27 patients, and researchers found that the cells helped patients recall situations better and in the right order.
This also helped researchers conclude that damage to the hippocampus – the part of the brain responsible for learning and memory and where the time cells are found – leads to an inability in recalling the sequence of events.
Have you learnt about the brain in class? If yes, take this little quiz to test your knowledge!
Sources: NRP, mayfieldclinic.com.