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Dori Derdikman, Eyal Raz - Effect of sedative drugs on hippocampal associative-memory drift

This proposal will examine the impact of anesthetic drugs on memory processes during sedation and general anesthesia. Accidental awareness with recall is a rare yet significant occurrence. This phenomenon poses a risk of post-traumatic stress disorder. Recall during sedation and awareness without recall are more common yet feared complications of anesthesia. Central to the study is the hippocampus, critical for associative memory, particularly in formation and consolidation.

The research investigates the influence of anesthetics like midazolam and ketamine on hippocampal memory functions, especially regarding the dynamic and adaptable spatial representations within the hippocampus. The study, inspired by Khatib et al. [1], delves into how these spatial representations interact with ongoing experiences, affecting memory updates.

Methodologically, the study records hippocampal activity in mice, focusing on place cells, under various doses of midazolam and ketamine. The objective is to ascertain the effects of these drugs on memory acquisition and consolidation, as evidenced by changes in place cell activity.

Three key goals guide the research: firstly, to compare midazolam's and ketamine's effects on place cell remapping; secondly, to assess their impacts on hippocampal memory processes, differentiating between acquisition and consolidation; and thirdly, to evaluate their influence in both active and inactive memory contexts. The hypothesis proposes a strong association between active memory with acquisition and inactive memory with consolidation.

Integrating Prof. Derdikman’s hippocampal expertise with Dr. Raz’s knowledge of anesthesia, the study aims to unravel memory formation complexities during anesthesia and sedation, offering significant implications for both scientific understanding and clinical practice.

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