What is it about?

An important question about the aging brain is why some older adults show declines in their spatial memory, which can be heightened in the early stages of dementia. To answer this question, we investigate how a brain region long implicated in memory, the hippocampus, might contribute to difficulty with learning new spatial environments as part of aging.

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Why is it important?

Our research reveals significant insights into the aging brain and spatial memory. The potential application of the novel biomarkers discovered by our team is to investigate whether they are related to the profound issues of disorientation that occasionally accompany the early stages of dementia.


Witnessing firsthand how alterations in hippocampus subfield neural signals manifest in older adults gave me a deeper appreciation of the brain changes underlying memory difficulties later in life. I hope that our findings will ultimately contribute to the development of biomarkers and interventions for cognitive aging.

Li Zheng
University of Arizona

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This page is a summary of: Hippocampal contributions to novel spatial learning are both age-related and age-invariant, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, December 2023, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2307884120.
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