Neurobiology of Memory

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is usually considered as disease where the nerve cells die, the brain shrinks and the person becomes demented. However, in the critical early phase the symptoms may be limited to selective loss of recently acquired memories, whereas general knowledge, old memories and cognitive skills may be well preserved. The key to finding an effective treatment to AD is to understand the pathophysiological mechanisms of the key symptom of memory loss.

An additional intriguing feature of AD is that the symptoms are not stable. The patient may have long clear moments when nobody would detect anything abnormal in his/her mental capacity, but in the next moment be totally carried away. This kind of fluctuation cannot be explained by a slowly progressing neurodegeneration.

Based on rapid advancement during past two decades on neurobiological mechanisms behind normal memory functions, we aim to understand what goes awry in the AD brain to induce memory problems.