December 10, 2023

The Queens County Citizen

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What if post-traumatic stress is just a bad memory?

What if post-traumatic stress is just a bad memory?

Luckily, post-traumatic stress disorder will one day be just a bad memory … or not a memory.

Researchers at the University of Cambridge have recently made a discovery that changes the way we think about memory; They identified a protein that can be used as a marker to identify memories that are thought to be mellow.

Science has known for years that memory can be divided into two distinct types. On the one hand, there is actual memory; She will record your dog’s name, your birthday or your phone number. However, on the other hand, there is another memory that researchers suggest. “Instinctive”. It is more difficult to understand because it depends on feelings and emotions.

This second part plays a primary role in the recollection of traumatic events such as a violent attack or a shocking experience for a soldier on a mission. By extension, it is also a major cause of post-traumatic stress disorder Psychological consequences Are often important.

Since this subdivision of memory has been identified, science is looking for a way out To disable or eliminate this disabled emotional burden. There have been some promising attempts such as These jobs Published in 2004. But overall, the results are mixed and the results are hard to repeat. Researchers hit the wall and the track gradually cooled … to this day.

A protein that can be used as a preservative in memory

Cambridge researchers have done a job A little special protein, Called “shank”. It plays on receptors that maintain connections between certain neurons, much like the tutor that guides the tomato plant toward light.

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To study more accurately the effect of this protein on memory, the researchers turned to mice. They started with this Condition By simulating the situation of Post Traumatic Stress By causing weak electric shocks on them, along with a characteristic sound. They “reminded” them of that pain by repeating the sound, But without shocks. At that point, they injected them Beta blockers Named propranolol. Previous research has already shown that this condition can cause amnesia in mice.

But in this particular case, rats have Kept the memory of this event, And all shank proteins are perfectly stable. For researchers, this proves that the protein can serve as an indicator of the “melability” of memories. The higher it is, the harder it is to link specific neurons and thus anchor memory. Conversely, as it deteriorates, memories become more sensitive.

We do not yet know whether this is directly involved in memory loss or whether it is a by-product of a profound reaction.“, Explained Dr. Amy Milton, a neurobiologist in Cambridge.”But what it gives us is, in a way, the key to a major door in the biochemistry of memory.“She is excited.

Playing with memories is more complicated than removing a simple photo from an album. Au Laura Fuhrmann – Unsplash

The tracks are still a long way off but very realistic

On the other hand, we still have a long way to go to open this door. To begin with, this work has yet to be reviewed and verified by the scientific community, as the paper is not yet available Published. The goal is to see that these experiences last Reproduction, To avoid falling into the same pitfalls as the 2004 study. Keep in mind that this is Cambridge, a well-known company that does not usually produce bad work. So we can have good faith in their conclusions.

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But even if the whole scientific community is unanimous, only real work can begin. Because this work was done on rats; In order to transfer these results to humans, it is also necessary to navigate the infinite complexity of human cerebral physiology, which is much more complex than in mice.

However, researchers do not expect this work to be memorized. So it is not tomorrow that we will get the neuralizer in Men in Black. Their interest is rather Therapeutic approaches More subtle. In the end, opening this door brings us closer Relieving therapies for victims of traumatic experiences. A beacon of hope Terrible mental burden, and sometimes for all the people who struggle every day Completely inefficient.

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