Navigation Links
Study Probes Roots of Fearful Memories

Neurochemical sears traumatic moments into the brain, study suggests

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 22 (HealthDay News) -- New research is helping scientists understand why frightening, traumatic memories go so deep and linger so long in the human brain.

A study in rats shows that a powerful neurochemical called norepinephrine is released to help the brain deal with trauma -- but it also "imprints" an emotional fear tagged to the memory of that event.

These emotionally loaded memories could help cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), said a team at Harvard University. But the findings may also provide a target for treatment, they added.

"Norepinephrine is released in a part of the brain called the amygdala, which is associated with emotional conditions, particularly in bad situations," said lead researcher Vadim Bolshakov, director of the Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory at Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital, in Belmont, Mass.

In addition, norepinephrine -- also called noradrenalin -- makes memories last longer, Bolshakov said. "There is some evidence that norepinephrine is involved in the transition from short-term memory to long-term memory," he said.

According to Bolshakov, experiments with rats suggest that when a traumatic event occurs, a surge of norepinephrine occurs in the brain.

In the new study, Bolshakov's team used the rodents' fear of certain sounds to uncover the mechanisms driving fearful behavior. The animals learned to associate a sound with a mild foot shock.

The researchers looked at tissue slices from the amygdala region of the rat's brain that were then infused with norepinephrine. They observed how norepinephrine increased fear-learning through brain cell pathways linked to fear conditioning, Bolshakov said.

"We could see how the brain cells 'talked' to each other," Bolshakov said. "This could be a model of PTSD," because norepinephrine increased long-term memory in emotionally charged situations, he said.

PTSD and other mental conditions, such as generalized anxiety disorder, are associated with fear conditioning. The finding could lead to a better understanding of these conditions, too -- as well as better treatments, Bolshakov said.

He believes that blocking norepinephrine production as soon as possible after a traumatic event might prevent PTSD, because these events would be blocked from becoming long-term memories.

More information

For more information on PTSD, visit the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health.

SOURCES: Vadim Bolshakov, Ph.D., director, Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory, McLean Hospital, Belmont, Mass.; Aug. 20-24, 2007, online edition, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Copyright©2007 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Gene study links endometriosis, infertility
2. Study reveals how stress can make you sick
3. Study points out that HIV vaccine may not be accepted easily
4. A new study surpasses Gene Therapy Hurdle
5. Tomato Sauce reduces Cancer Risk- Study
6. A question on study of Adult Stem Cell
7. Study on obesity and heart failure
8. National Lung Study in the process
9. Marijuana gateway theory strengthened by study of twins
10. Old theory of adaptation confirmed by new study
11. Study casts doubt on keyboard ills
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/26/2016)... , ... June 26, 2016 , ... Pixel Film Studios ... X. , "Film editors can give their videos a whole new perspective by using ... - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ProSlice Levels contains over 30 Different ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... TX (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... Austin ... of the American College of Mohs Surgery and to Dr. Russell Peckham for medical ... and highly effective treatment for skin cancer. The selective fellowship in Mohs Micrographic Surgery ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 25, 2016 , ... Dr. Calvin Johnson has dedicated his ... implemented orthobiologic procedures as a method for treating his patients. The procedure is ... to perform the treatment. Orthobiologics are substances that orthopaedic surgeons use to help ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... June 19, 2016 is World Sickle Cell ... pain and the benefits of holistic treatments, Serenity Recovery Center of Marne, ... Cell Disease. , Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a disorder of the red blood ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... Comfort Keepers® ... American Cancer Society and the Road To Recovery® program to drive cancer patients to ... and other adults to ensure the highest quality of life and ongoing independence. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 ... Markets has announced the addition of the " ... offering. This ... and provides an updated review, including its applications in ... the total market, which includes three main industries: pharmaceutical ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... June 24, 2016 The Academy of Managed ... recommendations that would allow biopharmaceutical companies to more ... that make formulary and coverage decisions, a move that ... new medicines. The recommendations address restrictions in ... on the drug label, a prohibition that hinders decision ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. , June 24, 2016  American ... function testing company, is now able to perform sophisticated lung assessments ... ndd Medical Technologies , Inc. Patients are no ...  Thanks to ndd,s EasyOne PRO ® , ARL patients like Jeanne ... needed testing done in the comfort of her own home. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: