Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The Downside of Good Memory

15.05.2012
Experiencing distressing memories of a shocking experience characterizes posttraumatic stress disorder.

Scientists from the University of Basel have now discovered that a genetic factor for good memory is also associated with a heightened risk for the development of a posttraumatic stress disorder in war victims. The findings of this study will be published this week in the American journal PNAS.

There are many advantages of having a good memory. Retaining what has been learned at school comes more easily, for example, or keys are less likely to be misplaced. But having a good memory could also have a downside, namely, when shocking experiences, such as a severe accident or a rape incident, are deeply engraved into the brain. When such traumatic experiences continue to exist as painful memories, they could increase the chance of a posttraumatic stress disorder developing.

Dominique de Quervain and Andreas Papassotiropoulos, from the transfaculty research platform "Molecular and Cognitive Neurosciences" and the Biozentrum of the University of Basel, have recently discovered that car al and neutral information were likewise better remembered. Furthermore, the scientists have found that the gene variant is associated with heightened activity in memory relevant regions of the brain. More than 1000 healthy persons took part in this study in Basel.

In a second part of this study, the researchers, together with the scientists Thomas Elbert from Konstanz and Iris-Tatjana Kolassa from Ulm, investigated the effect of the gene variant on traumatic memories in around 350 survivors of the genocide in Rwanda. The scientists found that the carriers of the identified gene variant experienced more distressing memories of the shocking events during the civil war and were more likely to suffer a posttraumatic stress disorder.

This study was able to show, for the first time, a genetic link between good memory and a heightened risk for psychological trauma and suggests that PKC alpha plays an important role in the regulation of memory processes. The current study was undertaken as part of a project directed by de Quervain and Papassotiropoulos.

Neurobiological mechanism of human memory
The project, "Neurobiological mechanism of human memory" is being led by Prof. Andreas Papassotiropoulos, Director of the Division of Molecular Neuroscience and Prof. Dominique de Quervain, Director of the Division of Cognitive Neurosciences at the University of Basel. Among the goals of this project are the identification of neurobiological and molecular mechanisms of human memory and the development of new strategies for the treatment of memory disorders. This interdisciplinary project is the scientific core of the transfaculty research platform "Molecular and Cognitive Neurosciences" at the University of Basel.
Original Article
Dominique J.-F. de Quervain, Iris-Tatjana Kolassa, Sandra Ackermann, Amanda Aerni, Peter Boesiger, Philippe Demougin, Thomas Elbert, Verena Ertl, Leo Gschwind, Nils Hadziselimovic, Edveena Hanser, Angela Heck, Petra Hieber, Kim-Dung Huynh, Markus Klarhöfer, Roger Luechinger, Björn Rasch, Klaus Scheffler, Klara Spalek, Christoph Stippich, Christian Vogler, Vanja Vukojevic, Attila Stetak, and Andreas Papassotiropoulos
PKCα is genetically linked to memory capacity in healthy subjects and to risk for posttraumatic stress disorder in genocide survivors

PNAS 2012 ; published ahead of print May 14, 2012 | doi:10.1073/pnas.1200857109

Media contact
Prof. Dr. Andreas Papassotiropoulos, University of Basel, Division of Molecular Neuroscience, Tel: +41 61 267 0599 (direct), +41 61 267 0588 (secretary), E-mail: andreas.papas@unibas.ch

Prof. Dr. Dominique J.-F. de Quervain, University of Basel, Division of Cognitive Neuroscience, Tel:+41 61 267 0237 (direct), +41 61 267 02 38 (secretary), E-mail: dominique.dequervain@unibas.ch

Reto Caluori | idw
Further information:
http://www.unibas.ch
http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1200857109

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht For a chimpanzee, one good turn deserves another
27.06.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Mathematik in den Naturwissenschaften (MPIMIS)

nachricht New method to rapidly map the 'social networks' of proteins
27.06.2017 | Salk Institute

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Touch Displays WAY-AX and WAY-DX by WayCon

27.06.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Drones that drive

27.06.2017 | Information Technology

Ultra-compact phase modulators based on graphene plasmons

27.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>