Navigation Links
Very young found to process fear memories in unique way

WASHINGTON, DC Feb. 5, 2008 Very young brains process memories of fear differently than more mature ones, new research indicates. The findings appear in the Feb. 6 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience. The work significantly advances scientific understanding of when and how fear is stored and unlearned, and introduces new thinking on the implications of fear experience early in life.

This important paper raises questions that are the tip of the iceberg related to the very complex series of events that occur as we learn to fear something. In the real world, we become fearful, extinguish that fear, reacquire it at another time, and then conquer it yet again, says John Krystal, MD, of Yale University and director of the clinical neuroscience division of the VA National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Typically, we think about long-term, negative impact of fear learning, such as lifelong problems with anxiety. But this work highlights an avenue for adapting to early stresses that apparently can occur only early in life: to erase a learned fear from memory. Krystal was not affiliated with the research.

Study co-authors Jee Hyun Kim and Rick Richardson, PhD, of the University of New South Wales in Sydney, homed in on the amygdala, using anesthesia to temporarily inactivate it and therefore isolate its role. The amygdala is critical for emotional learning and plays a central role in dulling the memory of a fear.

Kim and Richardson trained rats that were 16 and 23 days oldthe human equivalent of children and budding adolescentsto associate a specific sound with a mild shock to the foot. After subsequent training, when the sound was not followed by a shock, the animals fearful reaction to hearing the sound faded. Technically, this is known as extinction, and depended on the function of the amygdala.

In a second round of training, the researchers reintroduced the fear and tried to re-extinguish it. This time around, they found, only the older rats were able to do so without the amygdala.

The researchers concluded that the age at which the initial extinction training occurred was critical to whether or not the rats fear faded the second time independently of the amygdala. The authors suggest that in the very young, it is primarily the amygdala that extinguishes fearful memories, but that mechanisms independent of the amygdala develop later.

This raises the possibility that fears unlearned at an early enough age are, in fact, erased. As brains develop, however, and related structures near the amygdala mature, these structures take on a greater role. Thus, fear in adolescence and later in life may not be erased, but instead be, for example, inhibited by a process of overlaying neutral memories on top of the initial fear reaction. The initial memory could still exist and be called on again.

Extinction in the young brain might forever erase early traumatic learningbut accepting this hypothesis will have to wait for more research, says Mark Bouton, PhD, of the University of Vermont, who did not participate in the esearch. What might change as the brain develops is where and how fear learning and extinction are stored and how they can be retrieved.


Contact: Sara Harris
Society for Neuroscience

Related medicine news :

1. Young Innovations, Inc. Announces Results for 4th Quarter and the Year and Declares Dividend
2. Are Social Networking Sites Endangering Young Teens? Study Finds Maybe Not
3. Budding Young Artists Invited to Compete in 17th Annual Pier 1 Imports/UNICEF Greeting Card Contest
4. Psychotherapist to Young Hollywood Says Male Stars in Psychological Trouble Get a Media Pass as Compared to Female Stars
5. Boomers: Feeling Young or Fooling Themselves?
6. Young Innovations, Inc. Provides Fourth Quarter Conference Call Details
7. Video: New Survey Shows Young Women Turn to Traditional Values in Life, Relationships and Health
8. Anti-Inflammatory Drug Improves Glycemia, Lowers Inflammation in Obese, Young Adults
9. Therapist to Young Hollywood Says Industry Needs to Take More Responsibility for Protecting Stars Mental Health
10. Teens, Young Adults Missing Out on Latest Cancer Advances
11. Hylands Cough and Cold Medicines Remain a Safe and Effective Option for Toddlers and Young Children
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... The Trustees, Massachusetts’ largest conservation ... parking fees at several of their most popular properties, including Crane Beach in ... of REI’s Black Friday #OptOutside Campaign. The Trustees encourage families and friends to ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... The ... to support their local poison centers through donations on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015. ... it “a day that inspires people to collaborate in improving their local communities ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... ... , LLC launched their Pro Vest, the latest version of their widely popular weight loss ... 10 hours. , The campaign, which will continue to run through Saturday, ... , The PRO Vest provides consumers with a less expensive, one-size fits all comfort option, ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... Healthy Aging Program have announced their endorsement of the Medical Fitness Network ... Fitness is proud to have the MFN as one of our endorsed organizations,” ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... IL (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... All her life, Don Peck’s mother ... Even her obituary said she might have been. After a 25-year search for information, ... voyager with whom she shared a last name. Turns out, it was Don’s father ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)...  NuShield, Inc., an industry leader in LCD screen protection and glare-elimination technology, is providing a ... of their patient monitoring or electronic documentation system. ... ... ... A study in 2013 by the National ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Pa. , Nov. 24, 2015  BioPlast ... for the medical research, clinical diagnostic and biotech ... a leading manufacturer of quality petri dishes. This ... offer clients a platform of products that are ... manufactured with the highest quality.  ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... LYON, France , November 24, 2015 ... Pharma the patent they co-own with Inserm, Poxel, CNRS, UCBL ... --> --> Hepatitis B ... more than 350 million people chronically infected worldwide, 20 to ... disease, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Despite the existence of an ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: