Neuroscience

Time cells: the brain clock based on experiences

celulas del tiempo cerebro

Sometimes we lose the notion of the time and do not know the hour in which we live or even neither the day. It is quite common to have to ask after the day of the week that is, and more in the period that are living of confinements and teleworking. Every day they seem to be Tuesday. The time seems that it has detained  in the 2020 and that instead of a year have happened ten. Possibly it was the year that is doing  longer of which remember by fault of the pandemia of the coronavirus. The called cells of the time of the brain are the attendants of this task.

The step of the time also is related with our emotional state, therefore this year it perceives  as slower. When we are sad or with a state of low spirit, already was the reason that was, perceive that the time passes slower that when we are cheerful or happy. The same sucede when we are nervous or estresados, the time paralyses , and therefore when have haste a semaphore seems to take much more in putting  in green that other days.

Well, our brain, as good processor of the information needs to know of some way how passes the step of the time and how the related with a determinate place. Our memory is our source of main information and has to try relate with the greater certainty the data that processes and recovers. The space and the time are data very important for us.

How our brain recognises the step of the time?

It does some years already had discovered  the designated cells of the time, the neurons commissioned to register when and where occur the events.

This neural clock does not encode of the same form that understand it we through seconds, minutes or hours, what does is to interpret the subjective time organising the flow of the experiences of the events that go  sucediendo according to a group of scientists led by the Nobel prize Edvard Moser (2018), director of the Institute Kavli, with headquarters in the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). Besides, related with these advances fits to stand out that already in 2014, a study coordinated by German Hesslow (University of Lund, Sweden) and Riccardo Zucca (Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain), showed that the cells are able to learn of individual way through the stimuli that receive by means of mechanism that consists in a species of internal clock that measured the time of the reactions. Before it thought  that it needed  exclusively a neural network to learn, but now knows  that they also learn of individual way thanks to this process resembled a clock. We learn better of the reactions and the experiences.

The cells of the time find  in the hippocampus and the bark entorrinal

A new study of the group of work of Bradley Bequeaths (2020),  professor of the Department of Surgery Neurológica of the UT Southwestern Medical Center (Texas, United States), has revealed new data in humans with regard to the cells of the time

The cells of the time are neurons that are situated in the hippocampus and the bark entorrinal that activate  in specific moments during a task or concrete cognitive experience. The evidences along the years have showed that this group of neurons are the managers to encode this relative information to the time, however, never had observed  in humans, up to now.

For this, these researchers identified the cells of the time in people using recordings of microelectrodos intracraneales in 27 patients with epilepsy that made a task by heart. These experiments showed of evident form that exists cellular activity in this region that represents a type of complementary temporary information manager to give form to the memories episódicos. It is a big advance for the improvement of the treatments in illnesses related with the loss by heart like the Alzheimer, since it could stimulate  these zones to help to the brain to improve the memory, since without this process does not attain descifrarlo properly.

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References and sources:

Johansson, F., Jirenhed D.To., Rasmussen, To., Zucca, R., Hesslow, G. (2014). Memory Trace and timing mechanism localized to cerebellar Purkinje cells, PNAS doi:10.1073/pnas.1415371111.

Tsao,To., Sugar, J., Lu, L., Wang, C., Knierim, JJ, Moser, M.B., Moser, And.I. (2018). Integrating time from experience in  the Lateral entorhinal cortex. Nature 561 (7721), 57-62

Umbach, G., Kantak, P., Jacobs, J.,Kahana,M.,Pfeiffer, B.And., Sperling, M., it Bequeaths, B (2020). Time cells in  the human hippocampus and entorhinal cortex support episodic memory Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117 (45) 28463-28474; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2013250117

 

Iván Pico

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