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Research team discovers new role of cerebellum in coordinating the brain network essential for social recognition memory

MedicalXpress Breaking News-and-Events Nov 08, 2023

As millions of Americans struggle with memory loss and dementia brought on by increasingly common neurodegenerative disorders, like Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, greater understanding of how the brain works and is affected in those suffering from memory loss will be key to advancing more effective and targeted treatments.

Published in Nature Communications, University of Minnesota Medical School, Duluth Campus researchers discovered the cerebellum coordinates the brain network essential for social recognition memory. Social recognition memory is a cognitive process that allows individuals to remember and recognize the identities of other people, particularly those they have previously encountered.

"Loss of recognition memory is a common symptom in neurodegenerative disorders. Understanding this complex brain function is a critical step that could lead to the development of targeted therapies," said Yi-Mei Yang, Ph.D., an associate professor at the U of M Medical School, Duluth Campus.

In this study, researchers directed cerebellar activity with precise control in preclinical models. They found that the cerebellum is engaged in the retrieval of social information by activating the neural matrix underlying emotional responses and cognitive functions.

The research team says future studies will include real-time monitoring of cerebellum-neocortex interactions during social recognition tasks.

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