Study charts origins of fear memory

Sep 16, 2005

A team of researchers led by the University of Toronto has charted how and where a painful event becomes permanently etched in the brain. The researchers said their discovery has treatment implications for pain-related emotional disorders such as post-traumatic stress.

U-of-T Physiology Professor Min Zhuo and colleagues, Professor Bong-Kiun Kaang of Seoul National University and Professor Bao-Ming Li of China's Fudan University, identified where emotional fear memory begin.

In a paper published in the Sept. 15 issue of Neuron, they detail using mice to show how receptors in the brain's pre-frontal cortex play a critical role in fear development.

Previous research had pointed to activation in the hippocampus, an area that regulates emotion and memory, as the origin of fear memory.

"This is critical as it changes how and where scientists thought fear was developed," said Zhuo. "By understanding the bio-molecular mechanisms behind fear, we could potentially create therapeutic ways to ease emotional pain in people. Imagine reducing the ability of distressing events, such as amputations, to be permanently imprinted in the brain."

The university's Toronto Innovations Foundation is working with Zhuo to translate the findings into treatments.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Golden Ratio offers unity of science

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Nervous mice lead researchers to regulator of anxiety

Jan 25, 2007

University of Toronto researchers have uncovered a protein in brain receptors that regulates anxiety in mice - a finding that could one day lead to new clinical treatments of pathological anxiety in humans.

Recommended for you

Golden Ratio offers unity of science

16 minutes ago

Researchers from the Universities of the Witwatersrand and Pretoria are also suggesting that the "Golden Ratio" – designated by the Greek symbol ∅ (letter Phi) with a mathematical value of about 1.618 – also relates ...

Consumer sentiment brightens holiday spending

3 hours ago

Consumer confidence posted its fourth consecutive monthly gain in November, rising to its highest level since July 2007, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers.

Woolly mammoth skeleton sold at UK auction

17 hours ago

The skeleton of an Ice Age woolly mammoth fetched £189,000 ($300,000, 239.000 euros) at auction Wednesday as it went under the hammer in Britain with a host of other rare or extinct species.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.