Our paper, ‘Evidence for Spatially-Responsive Neurons in the Rostral Thalamus’ is now available for download

We have a new paper which explores the spatial functions of the rostral thalamus, a complex group of thalamic nuclei. Here, we concentrate on analysing the functions of three of these nuclei (the anteromedial nucleus, the parataenial nucleus and nucleus reuniens). We show that there are place cells, head direction cells, and border/perimeter cells present in these nuclei.… Read More

Decoding signal processing in thalamo-hippocampal circuitry: implications for theories of memory and spatial processing

Decoding signal processing in thalamo-hippocampal circuitry: implications for theories of memory and spatial processing Marian Tsanov and Shane M. O’Mara Our latest paper. Highlights • Thalamo-hippocampal projections are vital for episodic memory formation. • There is extensive connectivity between these structures. • We examine the signals processed within this circuitry. • We focus on head… Read More

Neuroanatomical investigations of the projections of the Papez circuit, with an emphasis on connections to the diencephalon

The projections of the extended hippocampal formation are still to a surprising extent under-described and under-investigated, despite the Papez circuit having been first postulated in 1937.  James Papez originally proposed that “the hypothalamus, the anterior thalamic nuclei, the gyrus cinguli, the hippocampus and their interconnections constitute a harmonious mechanism which may elaborate the functions of central emotion,… Read More

Exploring adverse neuropsychiatric effects of interferon alpha, using a preclinical model; exploring behavioural and pharmacological pathways to amelioration of these adverse effects

Recombinant Human Interferon-Alpha Pic from the Wikimedia Commons. Interferon alpha is widely used in the treatment of a variety of non-neurological conditions (for example, hepatitis C, Kaposi’s sarcoma, among others). It is in fact currently the only FDA-approved treatment for hepatitis C. Treatment for hepatitis is limited by the striking and adverse neuropsychiatric consequences of interferon alpha… Read More

Roles for the subiculum in spatial information processing, memory, motivation and the temporal control of behaviour.

Take-home message: The subiculum is in a pivotal position governing the output of the hippocampal formation. Despite this, it is a rather under-explored and sometimes ignored structure. Here, we discuss recent data indicating that the subiculum participates in a wide range of neurocognitive functions and processes. More research required! [Download the paper] Roles for the subiculum… Read More

Zombie Neuroscience: Shane O’Mara at TEDxDublin – YouTube

Take-home messages: (1) Get a kit, make a plan, be prepared; (2) “It’s always a source of disappointment to the family of a zombie that the zombie doesn’t love them anymore”; (3) Kill the brain. via Zombie Neuroscience: Shane O’Mara at TEDxDublin – YouTube.

Prolonged rote learning produces delayed memory facilitation and metabolic changes in the hippocampus of the ageing human brain.

Take-home message: repeated practice with material that must be remembered facilitates remembering in an aged population in whom there is expected to be a degree of age-related memory loss. This practice produces changes in the brain in structures that support learning and memory. Think of it like this: memory can be exercised via practice, much… Read More

Hippocampal-anterior thalamic pathways for memory: uncovering a network of direct and indirect actions.

Our major theoretical take and review of the extended brain systems that support explicit, declarative memory in the brain. [Download the paper.] Take-home message: there’s a lot more to memory than the hippocampal formation, and you forget (!) the connected thalamic structures at your peril, because the anterior thalamus provides a subcortical circuit supporting memory and spatial… Read More