Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

PTSD can develop even without memory of the trauma, study concludes

Date:
August 14, 2014
Source:
Elsevier
Summary:
There are many forms of memory and only some of these may be critical for the development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), reports a new study. The findings suggest that even with no explicit memory of an early childhood trauma, symptoms of PTSD can still develop in adulthood.

There are many forms of memory and only some of these may be critical for the development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), reports a new study by researchers at the University at Albany and the University of California Los Angeles. Their findings, published in the current issue of Biological Psychiatry, suggest that even with no explicit memory of an early childhood trauma, symptoms of PTSD can still develop in adulthood.

There are case reports of people who have experienced terrible life events that resulted in brain damage, some of whom developed syndromes similar to PTSD even though they had no recollection of the event itself.

These reports suggest that explicit memory may not be an absolute requirement for PTSD, whereas other forms of learning, such as fear conditioning, may be required.

Explicit memory is the type of memory that can be voluntarily recalled from prior experience and articulated.

To test this hypothesis, Dr. Andrew Poulos and his colleagues conducted a study designed to answer a basic question: If traumatic early life memories are lost, what persists of this experience?

In the laboratory, the researchers exposed juvenile rodents to a single session of unpredictable stress. Later, as adults, they tested the animals for their memory of the event and also measured their fear response.

"We found that our rodents, which failed to remember the environment in which they were traumatized, showed a persistent increase in anxiety related behavior and increased learning of new fear situations. These heightened levels of fear and anxiety corresponded with drastic changes in the daily rhythms of the circulating hormone corticosterone," said Poulos.

Corticosterone is a hormone that, in part, regulates the body's stress response. Interestingly, within the amygdala, a brain region crucial for the learning of fear, levels of a receptor for corticosterone were also increased..

Poulos added, "Future experiments in our laboratory will allow us to determine if this increase in glucocorticoid receptors within the amygdala and/or aberrant hormone levels sets up the organism for increased fear and anxiety."

All together, these findings indicate that not remembering a traumatic event does not preclude an organism from experiencing some of the negative consequences of trauma, such as anxiety and heightened fear.

"These data highlight the importance of the many ways in which the brain processes traumatic experiences. Psychotherapy tends to focus heavily on the articulation of trauma memories. However, the current study highlights that these explicit memories may not represent all brain processes that drive distress and disability," commented Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry. "In other words there may be a mismatch between what people think and how they feel about their traumatic experiences. Thus, there may be role in treatment for measuring other dimensions of response, such as physiologic arousal, through which some of these other forms of learning are expressed."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Andrew M. Poulos, Maxine Reger, Nehali Mehta, Irina Zhuravka, Sarah S. Sterlace, Camille Gannam, David A. Hovda, Christopher C. Giza, Michael S. Fanselow. Amnesia for Early Life Stress Does Not Preclude the Adult Development of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms in Rats. Biological Psychiatry, 2014; 76 (4): 306 DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2013.10.007

Cite This Page:

Elsevier. "PTSD can develop even without memory of the trauma, study concludes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140814123844.htm>.
Elsevier. (2014, August 14). PTSD can develop even without memory of the trauma, study concludes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140814123844.htm
Elsevier. "PTSD can develop even without memory of the trauma, study concludes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140814123844.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) A new study says children born less than one year and more than five years after a sibling can have an increased risk for autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stopping School Violence

Stopping School Violence

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A trauma doctor steps out of the hospital and into the classroom to teach kids how to calmly solve conflicts, avoiding a trip to the ER. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pineal Cysts: Debilitating Pain

Pineal Cysts: Debilitating Pain

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A tiny cyst in the brain that can cause debilitating symptoms like chronic headaches and insomnia, and the doctor who performs the delicate surgery to remove them. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Burning Away Brain Tumors

Burning Away Brain Tumors

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) Doctors are 'cooking' brain tumors. Hear how this new laser-heat procedure cuts down on recovery time. Video provided by Ivanhoe
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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