Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Let us patch our painful past

To many, past memories haunt. It makes them wake up middle of the night, terrified and sweating. No matter how one tries to forget the bitter past, it still comes back, haunting and scaring. The memory of an accident, a broken relationship, a misdeed, brutal memories of war or anything that has had a profound effect on our life in the past. And those suffering from such bad days would really long to forget these – but can they?

Well, I am not very sure of it. But some scientists are in Puerto Rico are. Recently, Puerto Rican researchers may have found a way to reduce the fear associated with our memories by injecting a naturally occurring chemical directly into the brain, replacing anxiety with feelings of security. They injected a naturally occurring chemical known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) into the rats' infralimbic prefrontal cortexes. BDNF is involved in several types of learning, including extinction learning. The researchers hoped that by artificially upping the amount present in the prefrontal cortex they could coax the rats into unlearning their fear of the chime. In experiments, rats were conditioned to fear the chime via electric shock until they would consistently freeze up each time the chime sounded. The next day, rather than undergoing extinction learning, the variable group was injected with BDNF. The control rats were left untouched. The next day, researchers began sounding the chime. The control rats seized up as expected, fearful of the shock. The variable rats did not. Further testing showed that the BDNF experiment very closely mirrored genuine extinction training.

This could be very effective for soldiers who most fear the bursting of the artillery shells around, which is so demoralizing that many lose the will to even get up what to talk of fighting on.

So if the fear can be taken care of, other matter may also be resolved one day.


Anonymous said...

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