Navigation Links
When being scared twice is enough to remember
Date:6/12/2012

One of the brain's jobs is to help us figure out what's important enough to be remembered. Scientists at Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University have achieved some insight into how fleeting experiences become memories in the brain.

Their experimental system could be a way to test or refine treatments aimed at enhancing learning and memory, or interfering with troubling memories. The results were published recently in the Journal of Neuroscience.

The researchers set up a system where rats were exposed to a light followed by a mild shock. A single light-shock event isn't enough to make the rat afraid of the light, but a repeat of the pairing of the light and shock is, even a few days later.

"I describe this effect as 'priming'," says the first author of the paper, postdoctoral fellow Ryan Parsons. "The animal experiences all sorts of things, and has to sort out what's important. If something happens just once, it doesn't register. But twice, and the animal remembers."

Parsons was working with Michael Davis, PhD, Robert W. Woodruff professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University School of Medicine, who has been studying the molecular basis for fear memory for several years.

Even though a robust fear memory was not formed after the first priming event, at that point Parsons could already detect chemical changes in the amygdala, part of the brain critical for fear responses. Long term memory formation could be blocked by infusing a drug into the amygdala. The drug inhibits protein kinase A, which is involved in the chemical changes Parsons observed.

It is possible to train rats to become afraid of something like a sound or a smell after one event, Parsons says. However, rats are less sensitive to light compared with sounds or smells, and a relatively mild shock was used.

Fear memories only formed when shocks were paired with light, instead of noise or nothing at all, for both the priming and the confirmation event. Parsons measured how afraid the rats were by gauging their "acoustic startle response" (how jittery they were in response to a loud noise) in the presence of the light, compared to before training began.

Scientists have been able to study the chemical changes connected with the priming process extensively in neurons in culture dishes, but not as much in live animals. The process is referred to as "metaplasticity," or how the history of the brain's experiences affects its readiness to change and learn.

"This could be a good model for dissecting the mechanisms involved in learning and memory," Parsons says. "We're going to be able to look at what's going on in that first priming event, as well as when the long-term memory is triggered."

"We believe our findings might help explain how events are selected out for long-term storage from what is essentially a torrent of information encountered during conscious experience," Parsons and Davis write in their paper.


'/>"/>
Contact: Holly Korschun
hkorsch@emory.edu
404-727-3990
Emory University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Invasive heart test being dramatically overused, Stanford study shows
2. Being Ignored Feels Just as Bad Online
3. Optimal care of bariatric surgery patients vital for long-term health and well-being
4. Some Folks Just Cant Help Being Nice, Study Suggests
5. SMART heart eases heart ache, targets cardiac patients emotional well-being
6. Being left out puts youths with special needs at risk for depression
7. Exercise Twice a Day Vital for Your Dogs Health, Expert Says
8. Mayo Clinic Alzheimers researcher honored twice in a month
9. Patients taking certolizumab pegol are twice as likely to achievE ACR20 compared to placebo
10. Patients with PsA treated with ustekinumab are twice as likely to achieve acr20 vs. placebo
11. Study: Women not getting enough exercise; at risk of developing metabolic syndrome
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 2016 , ... EB Medicine presented its first-ever “Issue of ... in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. The awards honor the outstanding work of leading ... and Pediatric Emergency Medicine Practice. , “With this award, we recognize the efforts ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , ... June 24, 2016 , ... National recruitment firm ... life sciences executive with extensive sequencing and genomics experience, as Vice President of North ... Ms. Hill will be responsible for leading the sales team in the commercialization of ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , ... June 24, 2016 , ... Finally, a bruise ... venous procedures, dermaka cream can be incorporated into the post-surgical treatment plans of a ... procedures. , dermaka cream is very effective for bruising and causes a rapid ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... SpiritQuest Sedona Retreats, located in Arizona has re-located to 75 Kallof Place, Suite ... Airport Mesa, and Boynton Canyon. The new retreat center is ideally-situated within ... Sedona Rouge, both popular accommodations for SpiritQuest clients. The Medicine Wheel, Labyrinth and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... vcfo, a ... support, is pleased to announce the promotion of Mike Mackey to Regional Vice ... Manager where he was responsible for managing client projects and overseeing vcfo financial ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... to their offering. ... World Market for Companion Diagnostics covers the world market for ... report includes the following: , World IVD ... (N. America, EU, ROW), 2015-2020 , World IVD Companion ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , Belgium , June ... MKT: VNRX), today announced the appointment of Dr. ... of Directors as a Non-Executive Director, effective June ... Company,s Audit, Compensation and Nominations and Governance Committees.  ... Dr. Futcher will provide independent expertise and strategic ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 Research and Markets ... Market - Forecast to 2022" report to their offering. ... method for the patients with kidney failure, it replaces the ... from the patient,s blood and thus the treatment helps to ... chloride in balance. Increasing number of ESRD ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: