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The neural activity in a brain region called the hippocampus, is organized by rhythmic fluctuations known as theta oscillations, which are thought to support memory processes. An exciting new paper from David Dupret’s team in the MRC Brain Network Dynamics Unit provides new insights into this process

Writing in Neuron, Lopes-dos-Santos and colleagues recorded and analyzed a set of electrical signatures that reflect the activation of particular neural circuits within individual theta cycles. By studying how these signatures varied in a cycle-by-cycle basis during memory tasks, the authors provide novel insights on how different neuronal circuits contribute to learning, consolidation and retrieval. These findings further highlight the importance of studying cycle-to-cycle variability of brain oscillations, often averaged out as biological noise.  

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