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What Is the Hippocampus?


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Question: What Is the Hippocampus?

The hippocampus is a small, curved formation in the brain that plays an important role in the limbic system. The hippocampus is involved in the formation of new memories and is also associated with learning and emotions.

Because of brain symmetry, the hippocampus is found in both hemispheres of the brain. When both sides of the hippocampus are damaged, the ability to create new memories can be impeded. If damage is restricted to just one side of the brain, memory function will remain nearly normal.

Age can also have a major impact on the functioning of the hippocampus. By the time an adult reaches 80 years of age, they might lose as much as 20 percent of the nerve connections in the hippocampus. Those who experience such loss show significant declines in memory performance.

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