Adrenaline helps brain store traumatic memories

October 24th, 2008 - 12:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Oct 24 (IANS) Scientists have discovered a cellular mechanism behind traumatic memories, activated by a stress hormone, which may be linked with our long-term survival.University of Queensland Brain Institute’s (QBI) Louise Faber and her colleagues have demonstrated how noradrenaline, the brain’s equivalent of adrenaline, affects the amygdala (almond-shaped part of the brain, associated with processing emotions by controlling chemical and electrical pathways).

“This is a new way of understanding how neurons form long-term memories in the amygdala,” Faber said.

“Our strongest and most vivid human memories are usually associated with strong emotional events such as those associated with extreme fear, love and rage. For many of us, our deepest memories are mental snapshots taken during times of high emotional impact or involvement,” she said.

“Some aspects of memory formation are incredibly robust - and the mechanism we’ve discovered opens another door in terms of understanding how these memories are formed,” reported a QBI press release.

Faber said her team’s discovery could help other scientists to elucidate new targets, leading to better treatment for conditions such as anxiety disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder.

These findings were published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

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