Memory: How it works?


Memory refers to the processes used to acquire, store, retain, and later retrieve information. How it works? Information is encoded and stored for later use (retrieval), when we need to use it.

Long-term memory can be declarative (the memory of events, that can be consciously recalled) or procedural (the unconscious memory of how to do things). In turn, declarative memory can be subdivided into episodic and semantic. Episodic memory refers to autobiographical events (where we parked our car yesterday), whereas semantic is a more structured record of facts, meanings, concepts and knowledge about the external world (general knowledge and concepts about what a car is). Episodic and semantic memories are associated to different systems in the brain, although they are considered to be functionally related. Both require a similar encoding process, but they activate different brain areas. Semantic memory mainly activates the frontal and temporal cortex, while episodic memory activity is initially concentrated in the hippocampus and later stored in the neocortex. Of course, the memories of the different elements of a particular event are distributed in diverse areas of the brain (visual, olfactory and auditory), but they are all connected together by the hippocampus to form an episode.

Omega-3 DHA, alone or combined with EPA, helps older adults with mild problems of memory. We will talk about this in the next post.




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