Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Research identifies a way to block memories associated with PTSD or drug addiction

Date:
December 5, 2012
Source:
University of Western Ontario
Summary:
New research could lead to better treatments for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and drug addiction by effectively blocking memories. The research has identified a common mechanism in a region of the brain called the pre-limbic cortex, which can suppress the recall of memories linked to both aversive, traumatic experiences associated with PTSD and rewarding memories linked to drug addiction, without permanently altering memories.

New research from Western University could lead to better treatments for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and drug addiction by effectively blocking memories.
Credit: elavuk81 / Fotolia

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 their experiments using a rat model, the neuroscientists discovered that stimulating a sub-type of dopamine receptor called the "D1" receptor in a specific area of the brain, could completely prevent the recall of both aversive and reward-related memories. "The precise mechanisms in the brain that control how these memories are recalled are poorly understood, and there are presently no effective treatments for patients suffering from obtrusive memories associated with either PTSD or addiction," says Lauzon. "If we are able to block the recall of those memories, then potentially we have a target for drugs to treat these disorders."

"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."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Western Ontario. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Nicole M. Lauzon, Melanie Bechard, Tasha Ahmad, Steven R. Laviolette. Supra-normal stimulation of dopamine D1 receptors in the prelimbic cortex blocks behavioral expression of both aversive and rewarding associative memories through a cyclic-AMP-dependent signaling pathway. Neuropharmacology, 2013; 67: 104 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2012.10.029

Cite This Page:

University of Western Ontario. "Research identifies a way to block memories associated with PTSD or drug addiction." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 December 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121205121149.htm>.
University of Western Ontario. (2012, December 5). Research identifies a way to block memories associated with PTSD or drug addiction. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121205121149.htm
University of Western Ontario. "Research identifies a way to block memories associated with PTSD or drug addiction." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121205121149.htm (accessed August 27, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Stroke in Young Adults

Stroke in Young Adults

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) A stroke can happen at any time and affect anyone regardless of age. This mother chose to give her son independence and continue to live a normal life after he had a stroke at 18 years old. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Distracted Adults: ADHD?

Distracted Adults: ADHD?

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Most people don’t realize that ADHD isn’t just for kids. It can affect the work as well as personal lives of many adults, and often times they don’t even know they have it. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Sight and Sounds of Autism

The Sight and Sounds of Autism

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) A new study is explaining why for some people with autism what they see and what they hear is out of sync. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experiences Make Us Happy, Even Just Waiting For Them

Experiences Make Us Happy, Even Just Waiting For Them

Newsy (Aug. 27, 2014) New research finds we get more excited to buy experiences than we do to buy material things. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins