September 1, 2015 13:00 — 0 Comments

How Exposure to Brief Trauma and Sudden Sounds Form Lasting Memories

Researchers from NYU Langone Medical Center recently found how even brief exposure to sudden sounds or mild trauma can form permanent, long-term brain connections, or memories. The research team, working with rats, said it was able to chemically stimulate those biological pathways in the locus coeruleus — the area of the brain best known for releasing the “fight or flight” hormone, noradrenaline — to heighten and improve the animals’ hearing. The results of the study, published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, allow for deeper insight into the functions of the locus coeruleus as a powerful amplifier in the brain, controlling how and where the brain stores and transforms sudden, traumatizing sounds and events into memories. According to the researchers, their findings provide insight into how and where traumatizing events stick in our minds and may possibly explain why it may take years to learn dates in history class but only seconds to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), from a shock or sudden event. They also say these study results may help explain how electrical impulses, such as those produced by cochlear implants for the hearing impaired, can better be used to improve hearing, and how traumatizing memories can be reshaped or dampened to lessen symptoms of PTSD. To read more about this study, click here.

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