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Awake Hippocampal Sharp-Wave Ripples Support Spatial Memory

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Science  15 Jun 2012:
Vol. 336, Issue 6087, pp. 1454-1458
DOI: 10.1126/science.1217230

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Spatial Memory Perturbation

The hippocampus is important for learning and memory. However, it is not clear which patterns of neural activity in the hippocampus support specific mnemonic functions. Jadhav et al. (p. 1454, published online 3 May) developed a real-time analysis system to detect and selectively interrupt a certain type of hippocampal neuronal network event—sharp-wave ripples—during learning. In awake animals, loss of sharp-wave ripples and associated memory replay activity caused a learning deficit specific to spatial working memory but had no effect on reference memory. This learning deficit was present despite the preservation of place-field representations and replay activity during rest.

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