Sunday, October 28, 2012

Of Sleep, Trauma & Healing.


Technion and Stanford Researchers:
Sleep Can Reactivate Frightening Memories and Alleviate Them




According to a new mice model research, sleep can reactivate fearful memories and alleviate them. This finding could lead to the development of more effective treatments for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The finding was presented at Neuroscience 2012, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience and the most extensive source of neuroscience and brain health news.

The research, conducted by Dr. Asya Rolls and Megha Makam of the research groups headed by Profs. Heller and de Lecea of Stanford University, finds that when a frightening memory is connected with smell, this trigger (the smell) can be used to reactivate the memory during sleep without actually interrupting the sleep. The researchers found that if the reactivation is repeated, the frightening memory is strengthened; but if the recreation is accompanied by a treatment that blocks the creation of proteins in the basolateral amygdala, the area of the brain associated with fear, the frightening memory is weakened.

PTSD is characterized by intense, highly emotional memories that are awakened by specific social and environmental triggers. In extinction therapy, the patient repeatedly recreates the memory in non-threatening surroundings, such as a clinic; however, the treatment is sometimes identified with the clinic to the extent that it ceases to be effective, and the patient experiences the traumatic trigger elsewhere, such as while out on the street.

"Sleep is not linked to a specific location, and thus changes that occur in traumatic memories during sleep could weaken the fear response regardless of where the memory awakens," Prof. Heller explains. "This fact could provide a significant solution to the limitations of existing PTSD treatments".

In their experiments, researchers created conditioning that paired certain smells and an electrical shock in mice while they were awake. This smell, or control smell, was released in the mice's cages while they were asleep in the presence of a protein synthesis inhibitor. The activation of the conditioning smell during sleep resulted in a substantial reduction in the fear response in later tests, while the mice were awake. Most important, the decrease in the fear response was general, and was not connected to a specific location.     

"This is where the significant potential of the treatment of traumas during sleep actually lies. While we sleep, our brain works differently, some of our protective systems are not activated, which, in principle, allows us to access associations which might not be accessible to treatment while we are awake," says Dr. Rolls, now a member of the Technion's Rappaport Faculty of Medicine. "Moreover, many treatments terminate prematurely because the patient finds it difficult to deal with the repeated mention of the traumatic memories. Therefore, treatment during sleep could be an easier alternative to dealing with such memories. Of course, there is still quite a distance between these preliminary experiments and actually treating people, but it is a start". 

8 comments:

  1. If there is anything which makes sense about this paper that excites me it is at last Medical Science is looking at Trauma as a cause of illness and ways of healing.

    That is where it stops as the first paragraph eruditely explains for trying to understand “Sleep reactivates fearful memories and alleviates them in MICE,” is surely no more than dreaming oneself.

    Mice are highly intelligent animals, they must be for if they were not Medical Scientists would not use them in the studies. But that is where it stops, because they; not only do not think the same us humans, we cannot speak their intelligent language and even if we could this science like all Medical Science is “back to front,” And proves nothing?

    Paragraph two is a clear demonstration of the above “finds that when a frightening memory is connected with smell, this trigger (the smell) can be used to reactivate the memory during sleep without actually interrupting the sleep.” This is to suggest Mice have a Life expectancy of more than Five years which it is suggested they do not. And Sleep certainly does not “Alleviate Fear” and as mice only live a short time; there is no way to demonstrate this successfully.

    Paragraph Three tries hard to be convincing and clearly demonstrate “No understanding of the cutely named PTSD exists anywhere with the exception of the Author of this response!

    Paragraph Four is bit of a Light Bulb moment which soon runs out of power demonstrating this paper does nothing to advance the simple to understand sleep=dream cycle, if anything confuse it even more.

    Paragraph Five is the back to front thinking of Medical Science or understanding the small because understanding the large makes the brain hurt. It did not reduce the Fear it simple moved it to another location, so as to avoid the unpleased interruption of Sleep.

    Paragraph Six is simply Medical Science nonsense "This is where the significant potential of the treatment of traumas during sleep actually lies. While we sleep, our brain works differently, some of our protective systems are not activated.” Anyone who thinks this is just invoice creating and nothing to do with Medical Science at all or is it they fail to remember the nonsense of ECT and Pond Dunking, which is the unwitting suggestion of this paper.

    Conclusion this Paper as all Medical Science conveniently ignores the cause of “Traumas” but then not to do so would be and acceptance Rene Descartes was wrong then and anyone who follows the principle of dualism in the twenty First century is even more wrong the he was.

    To make sense of this critique Dreams and Nightmares are but a gestation from trauma - depending on the severity of the trauma can take Three to Five years or even Seven - somewhat outside of the life span of Mice to come to fruition - which causes Anxiety which MUST be relieved and PTSD is no more than a relief of ANXIETY. Therefore Sleep time is no more than the seedbed for creation or in medical speak “The time we create all out illnesses” and not the time to alleviate the cause through secondary traumas as this paper suggests.

    Peter Smith Talking Cures Twenty First Century medicine

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  2. Interesting article!.
    @Peter SmithTalking Cures: nice thoughts.

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  3. Dear Oz Edri

    Many thanks for your comment nice to know there is one person with the ability to see what is desired - not to be seen.

    So many times my comments are withdrawn, so my compliments go to the person who administers this site for allowing my comment as above.

    As it is for sure they have realized "Suppression of New and and Innovative ideas never made the go away." My thanks to Barack Obama for this quote.

    As there are far to many people in the world still ill after many decades to accept blindly in the Twenty First Century Scientific Medicine ever once has proved anything truly worthwhile as to the cause and cure of any illness.

    Best wishes

    Peter

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  5. I hope they would continue to discover more ways of treating post traumatic stress disorder. Many employees who experienced traumatic accidents at work find it hard to work again due to their thinking that it might happen all over again. Sleep is the only rest patients can have and if while they sleep, they are continually healed, that would be the best treatment they can have.

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