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Study Finds How Fear Burns Memories

by Sheela Philomena on  June 17, 2011 at 12:18 PM Research News   - G J E 4
A new research has shed light on how fear burns memories into our brains. Daniela Kaufer and colleagues from University of California, Berkeley, reported a new way for emotions to affect memory: The brain's emotional center, the amygdala, induces the hippocampus, a relay hub for memory, to generate new neurons.
 Study Finds How Fear Burns Memories
Study Finds How Fear Burns Memories
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In a fearful situation, these newborn neurons get activated by the amygdala and may provide a "blank slate" to strongly imprint the new fearful memory, she said. In evolutionary terms, it means new neurons are likely helping you to remember the lion that nearly killed you.

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"We remember emotional events much more strongly than daily experiences, and for a long time we have known that connections between the amygdala and hippocampus help to encode this emotional information," said Kaufer, an assistant professor of integrative biology and a member of UC Berkeley's Wills Neuroscience Institute.

"Our research shows that amygdala input actually pushes the hippocampus to make new neurons from a unique population of neural stem cells. This provides completely new cells that get activated in response to emotional input."

The finding has implications for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other problems caused by faulty regulation of emotional memory.

The study will be published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

Source: ANI
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