Unraveling How Traumatic Memories Are Created: A Breakthrough Study

,

 / 

A recent breakthrough study by researchers at the National Institute for Physiological Sciences (NIPS) has brought us closer to understanding how traumatic memories are created. This study, published in Nature Communications, delves into the intricate neural networks involved in the formation of trauma memories.

How Traumatic Memories Are Created

Imagine when you learn something new; your brain undergoes changes. Scientists have long pondered these changes, and the NIPS research team has unlocked some of these mysteries.

They’ve used a unique blend of optical and machine learning methods to capture the complex processes at play during memory formation, shedding light on how traumatic memories take shape.

In this research, they explored associative learning, a fundamental form of learning vital for an animal’s survival. While we’ve made great strides in pinpointing the brain regions and neuron populations responsible for forming and recalling associative memories, there were still gaps in our knowledge.

For instance, the dorsal part of the medial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC) is crucial for retrieving associative fear memories in rodents, but the specifics were unclear.

The researchers noticed distinct neural activity and synchronization in the dmPFC during the retrieval of fear memories and related fear responses, like freezing or a slower heart rate. By temporarily silencing the dmPFC in mice, they observed a suppression of fear responses, highlighting the region’s role in recalling these memories.

To untangle the complexities of prefrontal neurons, the team employed two-photon imaging and a machine learning algorithm called the ‘elastic net.’ This method helped them identify specific neurons involved in encoding fear memory. They also examined the spatial arrangement and functional connections of these neurons using graphical modeling.

Their findings were remarkable; they pinpointed a neural population responsible for encoding fear memories and discovered the creation of a unique associative connection between initially separate networks, specifically the conditioned stimulus (CS, like a tone) network and the unconditioned stimulus (US, such as a fearful experience) network.

This connection appears to trigger a fear response in the presence of the conditioned stimulus.

In essence, this study supports the idea that memories are formed by strengthening neural connections through repeated activation of neuron groups.

The use of optics and machine learning in this research allowed for a detailed exploration of neural network dynamics, providing insights into the neurological changes accompanying learning and memory.

In summary, this research at NIPS has unveiled the intricacies of traumatic memory formation, offering a deeper understanding of how our brains create and store these crucial memories.


— About the Author —

Leave a Reply

Up Next

Stress Can Lead to Cortisol Belly: Here’s How to Fix It

Stress can affect our lives in many ways, from our mental health to our relationships, but it can also lead to physical symptoms such as ‘cortisol belly’. Cortisol belly, named after the stress hormone, has been widely discussed on social platforms such as TikTok, with users and experts explaining how it occurs, and theorizing what could be done about it.

While you may not have heard of the term ‘cortisol belly’ before, you might have heard of stubborn belly fat or stress belly, which are essentially the same thing. This is because it refers to the accumulation of visceral adipose tissue around the stomach, which has been linked to prolonged exposure to elevated levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.

What Is Cortisol Belly?

According to dietitian

Up Next

Sleep Apnea Linked to Air Pollution, Suggests New Study

A new study published in the journal NeuroToxicology suggests that air pollution could add to the risk and severity of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts.

The study, led by Bijaya Kumar Padhi from the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, claims that although there is no conclusive evidence, there are several plausible pathways to link the two.

For example, the Neuro Toxicology study says, that exposure to persistently high levels of air pollution can cause systemic inflammation or inflammation throughout the body,

Up Next

Aster DM Healthcare Identifies Top Foods to Combat PCOS Symptoms

Google searches related to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) reached an all-time high in April 2024 globally, indicating a growing concern and interest in understanding and managing this condition.

PCOS is a widespread hormonal disorder that mainly affects women between the ages of 12 and 51, leading to symptoms such as weight gain, insulin resistance, and hormonal imbalances. Fortunately, dietary modifications can significantly mitigate these symptoms and enhance overall well-being.

With this in mind, Global Healthcare Innovator Aster DM Healthcare has put together a list of the top foods to combat PCOS symptoms.

Top Foods to Combat PCOS Symptoms

Omega-3 Fatty Acids:

Up Next

Having Trouble Sleeping? Stop Eating This Food Right Now

When creating an ideal sleeping environment, you might think of lighting, temperature, and sound — but what about food? What you eat during the day can have a surprising impact on how well you sleep at night, according to experts.

“Food choice is an essential consideration for ensuring good sleep quality. Some types of food promote sleep while others may cause sleep disruption,” Dr. Chelsie Rohrscheib, head sleep expert at Wesper, a sleep analysis company in New York, told Fox News Digital.

Signs that Food is Interfering with Sleep

If after eating you’re struggling to fall asleep, waking up often during the night or experiencing heartburn, acid reflux, or indigestion, your food choices could be the culprit, according to Dr. Raj Dasgupta, chief medical adviser at Sleepopolis in California.

Up Next

Exercise Cuts Heart Disease Risk by Lowering Stress, Study Finds

New research indicates that physical activity lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease, in part by reducing stress-related signaling in the brain. The study, led by investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital and published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, found that people with stress-related conditions such as depression experienced the most cardiovascular benefits from physical activity.

To assess the mechanisms underlying the psychological and cardiovascular disease benefits of physical activity, Ahmed Tawakol, an investigator and cardiologist in the Cardiovascular Imaging Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, and his colleagues analyzed medical records and other information of 50,359 participants from the Mass General Brigham Biobank who completed a physical activity survey.

A subset of 774 participants also underw

Up Next

El Paso Experts Offer Help for Managing Work-Related Stress

Work-related stress can have significant impacts on moods, workplace productivity, and mental health. Finding ways to manage stress and find peace can be a challenge, but El Paso experts are offering help.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), stress can impact physical and mental health challenges. OSHA statistics reveal that “83% of US workers suffer from work-related stress and 54% of workers report that work stress affects their home life.” The agency further claims that workplace stress has reportedly been cited in 120,000 deaths in the US each year.

Loneliness, isolation, job security, fears of retaliation, and changing schedules can all impact employee mental health, according to federal experts. “Because of the many potential stressors workers may be experiencing, a comprehensive approach is needed to address stresso

Up Next

Intergenerational Stress Waves: Can Stress Affect Unborn Children? Experts Weigh In

Neha Cadabam, senior psychologist, and executive director at Cadabams Hospitals, explained to indianexpress.com that the transmission of stress can occur through biological, psychological, and social channels, affecting not just the individuals directly exposed to stressors but also their descendants.

Neurologist and content creator Dr. John Strugar highlighted, “Stress can have a significant impact on the amygdala, which is a key part of the brain involved in processing emotions, particularly fear and stress responses.”

He further explained that a mother’s stress during pregnancy can influence the developing brain of her baby. This impact stems from elevated levels of stress hormones, like glucocorticoids, which can alter the structure and function of certain brain regions, such as the amygdala.