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Oscillations and NMDA Receptors: Their Interplay Create Memories

1 Biomedical Engineering Program, Faculties of Medicine, Engineering, and Science, University of Manitoba;
2 Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba;
3 Division of Neurodegenerative Disorders, St. Boniface Hospital Research Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada R2H2A6

Oscillatory activity is inherent in many types of normal cellular function. Importantly, oscillations contribute to cellular network activity and cellular decision making, which are driving forces for cognition. Theta oscillations have been correlated with learning and memory encoding and gamma oscillations have been associated with attention and working memory. NMDA receptors are also implicated in oscillatory activity and contribute to normal function and in disease-related pathology. The interplay between oscillatory activity and NMDA receptors are intellectually curious and a fascinating dimension of inquiry. In this review we introduce some of the essential mathematical characteristics of oscillatory activity in order to provide a platform for additional discussion on recent studies concerning oscillations involving neuronal firing and NMDA receptor activity, and the effect of these dynamic mechanisms on cognitive processing in health and disease.
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