A small, inner-brain region called the hippocampus boasts a well-earned reputation as a memory hub. However, researchers disagree about whether the hippocampus specializes in remembering only experiences or instead coordinates recall of both experiences and factual information.
Support for the structure's double-barreled role comes from a group of six adults who suffered rare brain damage limited largely to the hippocampus. The analysis appears in a pair of reports in the April 10 Neuron.
"It looks like the human hippocampus is normally needed for semantic [factual] memories as well as for episodic [event] memories," says Larry R. Squire of the University of California, San Diego in La Jolla, who directed the investigations.