Hippocampus can be related to limbic system of the brain and it has a significant role in not only maintaining long term memory but also in spatial navigation. These roles of hippocampus make it a structure of critical importance for a brain.
When we talk about hippocampus’s critical role in the brain, we should also mention its importance in the formation of factual and autobiographical memories in the brain of a human or a mammal. Hippocampus can also work as a gateway for the memory (Cohen & Eichenbaum, 1993). It is in a sense that all new memories pass through this gateway before getting into the permanent storage area of the brain. If we talk about the structure of hippocampus, we can call it a paired structure which is formed so that mirror image lies on both sides of the brain (Matthews, 2000).
Damage to this critical structure of the brain can lead to a very detrimental disease which is anterograde amnesia. In anterograde amnesia, new memories can not be formed by the brain because it loses the ability of formation of any sort of new memories in the brain (Traub & Miles, 1991). In such case, older memories don’t get affected and they are kept safe in the brain. The affect is only on new memories. When a person gets damage to the hippocampus of the brain, he loses the ability to store new memories but all those memories which have a relation with his past, are kept safe in the brain.
But it is not the case with skills and abilities of a person. Skills don’t get affected by the damage to hippocampus. Even new memories which are related to the skills and habits of a person can be formed without a proper functioning hippocampus in the brain (Buzsaki, 2006). There are various researches which are being made these days by the researchers in the medical field in order to determine those memories which don’t get affected due to improper functioning of hippocampus. These researches are