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January 24, 2007
Forgetting the Future
Until very recently, there was a little known finding that if you have an amnesic person who struggles to remember the past, then they're probably not good at envisioning the future. But why is this?
The results of a new neuroimaging study conducted at the University College London show that the hippocampus, which has long been known to be a brain region intimately tied to memory, is also harnessed to construct possible futures. If the hippocampus is damaged, then one will have both a hard time remembering the past and envisioning the future.
According to Harvard's cognitive neuroscientist Donna Addis, this research could have interesting implications for aging. The hippocampus is one of the first brain regions to show signs of deterioration as we get older and her research suggests that the ability to envision the future experiences also declines as people age. So, maybe treatments for conditions like Age-Associated Memory Impairment might will not only improve our memory but also our future outlook.
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