Memory is not supported by a single brain region, but rather a wide set of brain areas. One brain region, however, is known to be especially important for memory and that is a structure deep in the brain's temporal lobes called the hippocampus.
There are a number of ways to study how memory is supported by the brain including testing patients with damage to brain areas within the memory network, such as the hippocampus. By looking at the patterns of their spared and impaired functions we can learn more about what each brain area contributes to memory.
Another way is to study how memory works in the healthy brain using techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging - or MRI. This allows us to collect very detailed images of a person's brain anatomy, and by using a specific type of scanning, known as functional MRI (fMRI), we can also look at how the brain functions. MRI is painless and safe. It does not involve any radiation, but rather it works using magnets. Given this, people with certain types of metal implants (e.g. a heart pacemaker) should not have a research MRI scan.
By combining MRI scanning with testing participants on a range of memory tasks, MEMO aims to complement our work with patients to understand how the hippocampus and the brain's wider memory network functions.