A New Approach for Treating Trauma?: Research on the Neurological Basis of Fear Memory

Although it provides clinical services for clients with a variety of disorders and mental health issues, BIPR specializes in trauma and attachment. These individuals come from a wide spectrum of socioeconomic backgrounds, but BIPR offers reduced fees to meet the needs of all those seeking psychotherapy. In a recent study by scientists from the Universities of Bonn and Berlin, research revealed how mechanisms in the brain can slow the process of moderating trauma following a stressful event.

These important findings surround dynorphins, which inhibit emotional moods. The researchers exposed mice to a negative stimulus, then monitored their anxiety symptoms over time. Mice whose genes for dynorphin formation had been disabled continued to display anxiety, while those with normal dynorphin quickly began to return to normal. Dr. Henrik Walter, a former researcher at the University Clinic in Bonn, acknowledged that “people exhibit natural variations of the dynorphin gene that lead to different levels of this substance being released in the brain”, so in a subsequent study, human subjects were exposed to a similarly negative stimulus in conjunction with a certain image. Subjects with less dynorphin activity continued to experience stress when shown the image, even without the stimulus, for longer periods of time than those with higher dynorphin levels. Brain scans showed that the probable reason for dynorphin’s effect on fear memory was its relationship to the amygdala and the prefontal cortex. In groups with lower dynorphin activity, the connection between the two was reduced. In later research, scientists plan to use this knowledge to develop new methods of treating trauma.

Further detail on this groundbreaking research can be found in the following article:

When Anxiety Won’t Go Away

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