The Science

Hippocamera is a scientifically-validated solution to boost memory for life events

Award-winning memory scientists have been developing and validating HippoCamera since 2015. Numerous lab-based studies and international field trials conducted have amassed the largest sample size of its kind in the world.

The results are clear: HippoCamera led to an average 47% improvement in memory for event-specific detail.1 What’s more, the richness of these memories lingered for months past when it would typically be forgotten.

These memory gains led to sharpening of neural activity in the hippocampus. This enhanced hippocampal activity reduced overlap across memories and made memory for each event more distinct.

A control study showed a huge memory benefit for HippoCamera events relative to those captured and replayed through standard smartphone usage. This is because HippoCamera cues are richer and recorded with more intentionality.

Using HippoCamera leads to enhanced neural activity in brain regions that are critical for memory, such as the hippocampus.

A control study showed a huge memory benefit for HippoCamera events relative to those captured and replayed through standard smartphone usage. This is because HippoCamera cues are richer and recorded with more intentionality.

1 Martin, C.B., Hong, B., Newsome, R.N., Savel, K., Meade, M.E., Xia, A., Honey, C.J., & Barense, M.D. (2022). A smartphone intervention that enhances real-world memory and promotes differentiation of hippocampal activity in older adults. PsyArXiv

Why does memory matter?

Our memories make up who we are. Memory loss can strip away our sense of identity, leaving us isolated from the events and people in our lives. This impacts confidence and can lead to depression, which in turn, leads to more memory decline. We need innovative solutions to break this vicious cycle.

How does the brain support memory?

Memory for the events of our lives is supported by a brain region called the hippocampus. Unfortunately, both aging and dementia affect the integrity of the hippocampus. With declines in hippocampal function, memories blend together because the specific details of events are lost. As a result, people with hippocampal damage have a hard time remembering the distinctive aspects that make an event special. Instead, they are left with just a vague memory, if they remember anything at all.

Can we build a memory aid based on how the brain works?

Neuroscience research has taught us much about how the brain supports memory, but very little of it has been applied to evidence-based interventions to stop memory loss. Using focused reminiscence activities on an easy-to-use smartphone app, HippoCamera aims to mimic the action of the hippocampus to preserve our memory for the moments that make our lives special and break the vicious cycle of memory loss.

Do memory benefits affect well-being?

A natural language analysis showed that events replayed with HippoCamera evoked more positive emotions when they were recalled, relative to control events. This is important, because declining memory contributes to depression and depression contributes to declining memory. But positive reminiscence – or focusing on remembering happy events and positive emotions – improves both memory and overall emotional well-being in dementia.

Does HippoCamera work in those with severe memory disorders?

HippoCamera was designed to mimic the hippocampus and may compensate for brain damage in those with a traumatic brain injury. A pilot study showed that a severely amnesic patient with bilateral hippocampal damage more than doubled their recall of event details after using HippoCamera.

Dementia by the Numbers

Up to 40% of Alzheimer’s cases can be avoided by lifestyle changes. Living an engaged and healthy life promotes brain health and prevents disease 1
40%
 
people worldwide have Alzheimer’s or a related dementia 2
44M
 
increase in deaths from Alzheimer's from 2000 to 2019 2
145%
 
in health care costs annually in North America. By 2030 costs are expected to rise to $470B 2
$300B
 

Sources:
1 The Lancet, 2020 Dementia prevention, intervention, and care: 2020 report of the Lancet Commission
2 Alzheimer's Association, 2020, 2021