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: Bronze Age wine cellar found

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

Bronze Age wine cellar found

15 hours ago

A Bronze Age palace excavation reveals an ancient wine cellar, according to a study published August 27, 2014 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Andrew Koh from Brandeis University and colleagues.

Orphaned children can do just as well in institutions

15 hours ago

The removal of institutions or group homes will not lead to better child well-being and could even worsen outcomes for some orphaned and separated children, according to new findings from a three-year study across five low- ...

User comments : 0