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Reconsolidating

In recent decades, advancements in cellular preparations, molecular biology, and neurogenetics have revolutionized the study of consolidation.

The case of Henry Molaison, formerly known as patient H.

M., became a landmark in studies of memory as it relates to amnesia and the removal of the hippocampal zone and sparked massive interest in the study of brain lesions and their effect on memory.

After Molaison underwent a bilateral medial temporal lobe resection to alleviate epileptic symptoms the patient began to suffer from memory impairments.

Molaison lost the ability to encode and consolidate newly learned information leading researchers to conclude the medial temporal lobe (MTL) was an important structure involved in this process.

The ‘reconsolidation’ hypothesis holds that when a memory is recalled, its molecular trace in the brain becomes plastic.

On this view, a reactivated memory has to be ‘saved’ or consolidated all over again in order for it to be stored.

The two proposed the perseveration-consolidation hypothesis after they found that new information learned could disrupt information previously learnt if not enough time had passed to allow the old information to be consolidated.