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.
Mother deer rushed towards the infant distress calls of seals, humans and even bats, suggesting that these mammals share similar emotions
In the forests of eastern Australia, a squadron of social spiders faces off against an army of the world's most dangerous ants in a pitched battle for survival
Contrary to some earlier projections, the world's population will soar through the end of the 21st century thanks largely to sub-Saharan Africa's higher-than-expected birth rates, United Nations and other population experts said on Thursday.
Archaeologists got to the root of an ancient hairstyle when they unearthed a 3,300-year-old body with 70 hair extensions
A major international study finds that killings among chimpanzees result from normal competition, not human interference.
Clownfish travel hundreds of kilometres, but it is the larvae rather than the adults that migrate
U.S. government researchers working with divers and sonar equipment have located the wrecks of what they dubbed "forgotten ghost ships" in waters just outside San Francisco's Golden Gate strait.
"It's spooky," a Clearwater, Fla., fisherman said, comparing the toxic algae bloom to "boiled red Georgia clay"
Physicist Danielle Bassett has been awarded a MacArthur Fellowship based on her work studying the human brain. She talks with Melissa Block about the advances it may lead to.
A team of researchers are using multispectral imaging to uncover hidden text on a 1491 Martellus map, one of the most important maps in history. Lead researcher Chet Van Duzer thinks the discoveries will allow historians and scholars to see just how the map influenced cartography in its time.