“A powerful link unites our memories and our orientation in space” | EUROtoday

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” LAging is essentially an operation of memory,” wrote Charles Péguy in Clio. “Now, it is memory that makes up all the depth of man. » The latter will remain almost intact for some, while others will see entire sections of their identity and their history disappear. Understanding how our memories work – there are a dozen different memory storage systems – is therefore essential, both to preserve those of those in good health, but also to alleviate, if not slow down, memory disorders. those who lose their bearings. Lionel Naccache, neurologist, specialist in cognitive sciences, professor at Sorbonne University (Paris) and researcher at the Brain Institute, will be present at the 5e edition of the Estivales of the Partage et vie Foundation, dedicated to memory and organized in partnership with Point, next June 19 in Paris.

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Point : What will we find out about reminiscence at this time?

Lionel Naccache: The first key message is that we’re now not speaking about reminiscence, however concerning the recollections, within the plural, of a dozen completely different programs. This nuance is essential, each from a theoretical perspective, to raised perceive the functioning of our reminiscence, but in addition from a sensible perspective, for sufferers.

By figuring out the deficit bricks of their reminiscence system and utilizing the preserved types of reminiscence of those sufferers, we will develop rehabilitation strategies permitting them to compensate, not less than partly, for his or her difficulties.

But probably the most essential discoveries of the final thirty years is that of place cells, these “place neurons” situated within the hippocampus – the realm of ​​our mind on which our episodic reminiscence partly relies upon, the one which creates our recollections and our identification. These neurons consistently encode our place and trajectory in house, precisely as a GPS would do.

Continuing this progress, an much more fascinating discovery was made within the Nineties: the phenomenon of “night replay”. Our mind replays in a loop, hundreds of occasions, proper aspect up, backwards and in quick movement, the trajectories of the day after we are in a deep sleep part. This “replay” is essential in consolidating our reminiscence, not solely spatial, but in addition episodic, to recollect what we have been doing the place we have been. In different phrases, there’s a highly effective hyperlink between our recollections and our orientation in house.

Can our sedentary lives behind a display have a destructive impression on the consolidation of our reminiscence?

This is a key query, which raises an important level concerning the hyperlinks between cognition and bodily expertise, or what we name embodied cognition, “embodied cognition”. To what extent can the psychological simulation of a state of affairs change the bodily expertise of it? Can a digital stroll present the identical bodily results as a bodily stroll?

The solutions aren’t clear and are the topic of analysis, however I’d are likely to say that, digital or actual, these “getaways” should enable one to orient oneself and the design of the locations, each bodily and digital, ought to obey to those rules to make our wanderings as wealthy as doable.

Why do some folks develop reminiscence issues?

Unfortunately, the listing of doable causes is lengthy. Memory issues are intrinsically linked to the functioning and construction of the mind, in addition to to varied life occasions, equivalent to neurological or psychiatric sicknesses, unintended effects of medicines, and even sleep issues.

For every affected person, it's a Sherlock Holmes-style investigation.

Some causes are extra reversible than others. Neurodegenerative ailments, equivalent to Alzheimer's illness, progressively injury mind networks important for episodic reminiscence, whereas melancholy or sleep issues have an effect on mind operate, however not essentially its construction, permitting reminiscence restoration if l The affected person's situation improves.

What are the danger components for these pathologies?

The first issue is sleep. To preserve your reminiscence, you could preserve high quality sleep and maintain sleep issues if there are any. Most of the time, they are often improved and even cured.

On a medical stage, though we can’t at the moment cease neurodegenerative ailments, we’ve got recognized cardiovascular threat components, equivalent to hypertension, diabetes and even ldl cholesterol. These components themselves trigger cognitive and reminiscence issues. For instance, some sufferers will develop reminiscence issues because of the accumulation of small vascular lesions. Acting on these components – and we’re doing it fairly nicely at this time – will make it doable to restrict the injury and, not directly, to mitigate the impression of neurodegenerative ailments.

Certain poisonous substances, equivalent to alcohol, ought to be averted, whereas caring for your psychological well being additionally performs a significant function. Mood, melancholy, stress, anxiousness can exacerbate reminiscence issues.

An instance of sensible recommendation to greatest help individuals who have reminiscence issues?

With such a pathologies, a disruption of the nycthemeral rhythms, the wake-sleep rhythms, typically happens. This lack of bearings outcomes, for instance, in nocturnal wanderings which we usually attempt to inhibit with psychotropic medication or neuroleptics.

A easy method to cut back using medicines linked to those issues – which could be dangerous to different cognitive features – whereas preserving high quality sleep is to play on areas and lightweight. Having environments which can be brightly lit throughout the day and poorly lit at evening helps information endogenous mind secretion of melatonin and subsequently restrict the injury.