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What function does the hippocampus serve?

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The hippocampus functions as the long-term data storage portion of the human brain, according to Healthline. The hippocampus is part of the brain's limbic system, which includes several structures in between the neocortex and diencephalon, according to the University of Texas Medical School. The hippocampus serves as the focal point of temporal lobe epilepsy in patients with the disorder.

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Scientists are still unsure as to how this part of the brain stores long-term memory, as of October 2014. Healthline explains the hippocampus directs a human's declarative memory, or the collected experiences and gathered knowledge of the person. Some patients who have other parts of the limbic system damaged or removed have nothing wrong with long-term memory recall, but new memories cannot be stored properly.

Special cells called basket cells within the hippocampus are partially responsible for temporal lobe epilepsy, according to the University of Texas. This disorder causes memory problems in patients. One possible treatment for temporal lope epilepsy is to somehow control the basket cells in the hippocampus that get overexcited during an epileptic seizure.

A 2013 study published in PLOS Biology examines the potential role the hippocampus plays in imagined outcomes. Brain scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) during simulated scenarios indicate lots of activity in this part of the brain when someone is imagining possible outcomes. According to the study's results, people with higher densities of neurons in the hippocampus chose more positive outcomes than those who had fewer neurons in this region of the brain.

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