Hippocampus is a funny word for a serious part of the brain.
The older you get, the more serious it gets.
Raise your hand if you know what the hippocampus is? We aren’t seeing many hands! That’s because the hippocampus is a highly-underdiscussed part of the human brain. We all know the medulla oblongata and the cerebral cortex; those are the parts of the brain that get all of the attention. But, the hippocampus gets more and more important as we age and for good reason. You see, the hippocampus is the part of the brain that affects memory. The older we get, the more susceptible we are to memory loss and conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia. It’s no surprise that the hippocampus is one of the first parts of the brain that is impacted by these diseases.
We thought that it might be time to take a look at some facts about the hippocampus, so we can become familiar with a part of the brain that plays a big part in our aging process. Here are some things to know:
Although its name sounds a little odd, it actually comes from the Greek word for seahorse. Why name it after a sea creature? Well, if you look at the hippocampus independently, it resembles a seahorse in shape.
The hippocampus is on the frontlines in the war with Alzheimer’s disease.
Atrophy in the hippocampus is one of the first signs of the disease and there is often a direct correlation to the shrinkage of the hippocampus and the memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s.
If you removed the hippocampus, you would still have short-term memories.
The hippocampus is responsible for the conversion of short-term memories to long-term memories. If the hippocampus was removed, you’d still be able to remember where you put your car keys, you just might not be able to remember buying the car. It’s actually a form of amnesia.
The hippocampus is serious business and so is taking care of your brain. Activity stimulates the brain and helps you stay sharp, as does social interaction. If you want to stay independent longer, McGregor PACE can help by getting you involved in our programs. Contact us today to find out how!