From Medical Xpress:

The Parietal Memory Network, a newly discovered memory and learning network shows consistent patterns of activation and deactivation in three distinct regions of the parietal cortex in the brain’s left hemisphere — the precuneus, the mid-cingulate cortex and the dorsal angular gyrus. (Image adapted from Creative Commons original by Patrick J. Lynch, medical illustrator; C. Carl Jaffe, MD, cardiologist.)

One of the more heartbreaking realities of Alzheimer’s is the moment when a loved one struggling with the disease no longer fully recognizes a family member or close friend who is caring for them.

Now, new research from Washington University in St. Louis has identified a novel learning and memory brain network that processes incoming information based on whether it’s something we’ve experienced previously or is deemed to be altogether new and unknown, helping us recognize, for instance, whether the face before us is that of a familiar friend or a complete stranger.

Forthcoming in the September issue of the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences, the study pulls together evidence from multiple neuroimaging studies and methods to demonstrate the existence of previously unknown and distinct functional brain network, one that appears to have broad involvement in human memory processing.

“Activity in this network tells us if you’re looking at something that you perceive to be novel or familiar,” said Adrian Gilmore, first author of the study and a fifth-year psychology doctoral student in Arts & Sciences at Washington University. “When an individual sees a novel stimulus, this network shows…

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