New research from Western University could lead to better treatments for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and drug addiction by effectively blocking memories. The research performed by Nicole Lauzon, a PhD candidate in the laboratory of Steven Laviolette at Western's Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry has revealed a common mechanism in a region of the brain called the pre-limbic cortex, can control the recall of memories linked to both aversive, traumatic experiences associated with PTSD and rewarding memories linked to drug addiction. More importantly, the researchers have discovered a way to actively suppress the spontaneous recall of both types of memories, without permanently altering memories. The findings are published online in the journal Neuropharmacology.
"These findings are very important in disorders like PTSD or drug addiction. One of the common problems associated with these disorders is the obtrusive recall of memories that are associated with the fearful, emotional experiences in PTSD patients. And people suffering with addiction are often exposed to environmental cues that remind them of the rewarding effects of the drug. This can lead to drug relapse, one of the major problems with persistent addictions to drugs such as opiates," explains Laviolette, an associate professor in the Departments of Anatomy and Cell Biology, and Psychiatry. "So what we've found is a common mechanism in the brain that can control recall of both aversive memories and memories associated with rewarding experience in the case of drug addiction."
"In the movie, 'Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind,' they attempted to permanently erase memories associated with emotional experiences," adds Laviolette. "The interesting thing about our findings is that we were able to prevent the spontaneous recall of these memories, but the memories were still intact. We weren't inducing any form of brain damage or actually affecting the integrity of the original memories."
University of Western Ontario: http://www.uwo.ca
This press release was posted to serve as a topic for discussion. Please comment below. We try our best to only post press releases that are associated with peer reviewed scientific literature. Critical discussions of the research are appreciated. If you need help finding a link to the original article, please contact us on twitter or via e-mail.
Free-living songbirds show increased stress hormone levels when nesting under white street lights. But different light spectra may have different physiological effects as this study finds, suggesting that using street lights with specific colour spectra may mitigate effects of light pollution on wildlife
Scientists identify the condition aphantasia, in which people cannot create images in their head
The dust in our homes contains an average of 9,000 different types of fungi and bacteria, a study suggests.
A mosquito can bear up to 23 times its total body weight on each leg, which is crucial for landing on water – the insect's secret is way it stands
Tropical species with smaller geographical ranges are more likely to die out in a warming climate than those that can adapt by ‘invading’ new regions
Most people think of bacteria as germs, signs of filth, or unwanted bringers of disease. Slowly, that view …
The gloomy octopuses crowded at Jervis Bay, Australia, appear to spit and throw debris such as shell at each other in what could be an intentional use of weapons
Therapies based on hormones that make us more trusting enhance our natural placebo effect – a finding that could alter the way clinical trials are conducted
The blind, hairless babies born recently at Washington D.C.'s National Zoo are completely dependent on their mothers—who can sometimes accidentally crush them.
The poop-hoarding insects have an amazingly advanced internal GPS that allows them to navigate by day or night.