UQ researchers tackle emotions head on – at the cellular level
University of Queensland researchers have identified a protein that is crucially involved in how our memories are stored and processed, paving the way for new strategies to treat conditions certain mental disorders.
Dr Louise Faber and Professor Pankaj Sah, from UQs Queensland Brain Institute (QBI), have been studying how cells in the brain form memories.
"What we were looking at in particular is how the memory of emotions, such as fear and anxiety, are laid down," Dr Faber said.
Professor Sah said the way strong emotions can effect our memories can be described by picturing a scene of someone sitting on a train listening to a piece of music.
"If that person is then subjected to a horrible tragedy such as a train crash, then the next time they hear that song it can bring back, in very vivid detail, that event and all the negative emotions associated with the crash," Professor Sah said.
Dr Faber said the part of the brain they were looking at was the amygdala, which mediates emotion and is believed to be the source of some mental disorders when the way information is processed malfunctions.
"In particular, fearful memories that underlie disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety are thought to be mediated by long term changes in the strength of connections between cells in the amygdala," Dr Faber said.
"We found a particular protein is crucially involved in regulating information processing and storage in the amygdala.
"When we blocked this protein with a specific blocker, the strength of connections between cells was greatly enhanced."
Dr Faber said the implications of this work could lead to developing novel strategies to treat mental disorders mediated by the amygdala, such as panic attacks, post traumatic stress disorder anxiety and depression.
The researchers work was recently published in the highly prestigious scientific journal Nature Neuroscience.
The QBI is home to leading researchers in neural stem cell research and are currently conducting research into finding ways to stimulate the production of new functional nerve cells to overcome diseases such as dementia (particularly Alzheimers disease), stroke, motor neuron disease, head and spinal cord injury, addiction and mental health.
Andrew Dunne | EurekAlert!
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...