Stimulating various parts of the brain can rotate up or down tenacity
What if scientists can manipulate your brain so that traumatic memory loses its emotional power over your soul? Steve Ramirez, a Boston University neurologist fascinated by memory, believes that small structures in the brain can hold the key to future therapeutic techniques to restore depression, control, and PTSD, a few days later asking doctors to improve positive or negative memories.

In our brain, a cashew-shaped structure called the hippocampus stores sensory and emotional information that forms memories, whether positive or negative. There are no two memories that are the same, and also, every memory we have in a unique combination of brain cells that contains all the environmental and emotional information associated with that memory. The hippocampus itself, although small, consists of many different subregions which all work together to remember certain memory elements.

Now, in a news paper in Biology Now, Ramirez and a team of collaborators have proven memory that is flexible if you know which parts of the hippocampus to stimulate – which today can help care for people haunted by memories that are very popular.

“Many psychiatric disorders, mostly PTSD, are based on thinking about having a truly traumatic experience, this person cannot continue because they understand their fear repeatedly,” said Briana Chen, the first author of this paper. , which is currently the result of ongoing research at Columbia University.

In their study, Chen and Ramirez, the senior author of the paper, showed how traumatic memories – such as memories at the root of disorders such as PTSD – can become loaded with dialogue. By activating cells artificially in the lower part of the brain’s hippocampus, negative memories can become more complete. Better, stimulating memory cells at the top of the hippocampus can eliminate bad memories from their emotional zest, making them less traumatic to understand.

Well, rarely if you are a mouse.

Using a technique called optogenetics, Chen and Ramirez map which cells in the hippocampus enable compilation of male mice to make new memories of positive, neutral, and negative experiences. Positive experience, for example, can be a publication of female rats. Apparently, a negative experience can receive a successful electric shock but light on the foot. Then, for which cells are part of the memory-making process (which they do with the help of luminous green proteins designed to actually complete activated compilation), they are able to use the specific memory memory needed later, using a laser light to activate memory cells -cell.

Their study revealed the importance of the role of the upper and lower hippocampus. Activating the upper part of the hippocampus activates effective exposure therapy, activating trauma reactivating bad memories. However, activating the lower part of the hippocampus can provide lasting fear and changes related to thought, suggesting that this part of the brain can become too active in compiling memories to be so emotional that they allow.

The difference, said Ramirez, is very important. He said that it proves against excessive activity in the lower part of the hippocampus that helps it be used to treat PTSD and overcome recovery. This could also be the key to improving cognitive skills, “like Limitless,” he said, a film that could star in Bradley Cooper 2011 in which the main character takes special pills that improve memory and brain function.

“The field of memory manipulation is still young …. Sounds like sci-fi but this research is a sneak preview of what’s to come in terms of our ability to improve artificially or remember,” said Ramirez, a BU Arts & Science College Assistant, professor of science psychology and brain. While this study began compiling Chen and Ramirez together doing research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the data has become the backbone of the first paper that came out of a laboratory group founded by Ramirez in BU in 2017.

“We are still far from being able to do this in humans, but the proof of concept is here,” Chen said. “As Steve said, ‘never say never.’ Nothing is impossible.”

“This is the first step in separating what these [brain] regions do to this truly emotional memory … The first step towards translating this to people, which is a holy cup,” said memory researcher Sheena Josselyn, a University in London. Toronto neuroscientists who were not involved in this study. “[Steve] ‘s group is truly unique in trying to see how the brain stores memories in order to help people … they not only play around but do it for a purpose.”

Although the rat brain and human brain are very different, Ramirez, who is also a member of the BU Center for Systems Neuroscience and the Center for Memory and Brain, says that learning how these basic principles are played in mice helps his team map a blueprint of how memory works in people . Being able to activate specific memory on demand, as well as targeted brain areas involved in memory, allows researchers to see exactly what side effects come along with various areas of the brain that are experiencing excessive stimulation.

“Let’s use what we learn in mice to make predictions about how memory functions in humans,” he said. “If we can make a two-way path to comparing the workings of memory in mice and humans, we can then ask specific questions [on mice] about how and why memory can have a positive or negative effect on psychological health.”

This work is supported by the National Institutes of Health Early Independence Award, Grant Young Investigator from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, the Ludwig Family Foundation Grant, and the McKnight Foundation Memory and the Cognitive Disorders Award

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