Breaking News
May 3, 2019 - Vaping and Smoking May Signal Greater Motivation to Quit
May 3, 2019 - Dementia looks different in brains of Hispanics
May 3, 2019 - Short-Staffed Nursing Homes See Drop In Medicare Ratings
May 3, 2019 - Study of teens with eating disorders explores how substance users differ from non-substance users
May 3, 2019 - Scientists develop new video game that may help in the study of Alzheimer’s
May 3, 2019 - Arc Bio introduces Galileo Pathogen Solution product line at ASM Clinical Virology Symposium
May 3, 2019 - Cornell University study uncovers relationship between starch digestion gene and gut bacteria
May 3, 2019 - How to Safely Use Glucose Meters and Test Strips for Diabetes
May 3, 2019 - Anti-inflammatory drugs ineffective for prevention of Alzheimer’s disease
May 3, 2019 - Study tracks Pennsylvania’s oil and gas waste-disposal practices
May 3, 2019 - Creating a better radiation diagnostic test for astronauts
May 3, 2019 - Vegans are often deficient in these four nutrients
May 3, 2019 - PPDC announces seed grants to develop medical devices for children
May 3, 2019 - Study maps out the frequency and impact of water polo head injuries
May 3, 2019 - Research on Reddit identifies risks associated with unproven treatments for opioid addiction
May 3, 2019 - Good smells may help ease tobacco cravings
May 3, 2019 - Medical financial hardship found to be very common among people in the United States
May 3, 2019 - Researchers develop multimodal system for personalized post-stroke rehabilitation
May 3, 2019 - Study shows significant mortality benefit with CABG over percutaneous coronary intervention
May 3, 2019 - Will gene-editing of human embryos ever be justifiable?
May 3, 2019 - FDA Approves Dengvaxia (dengue vaccine) for the Prevention of Dengue Disease in Endemic Regions
May 3, 2019 - Why Tonsillitis Keeps Coming Back
May 3, 2019 - Fighting the opioid epidemic with data
May 3, 2019 - Maggot sausages may soon be a reality
May 3, 2019 - Deletion of ATDC gene prevents development of pancreatic cancer in mice
May 2, 2019 - Targeted Therapy Promising for Rare Hematologic Cancer
May 2, 2019 - Alzheimer’s disease is a ‘double-prion disorder,’ study shows
May 2, 2019 - Reservoir bugs: How one bacterial menace makes its home in the human stomach
May 2, 2019 - Clinical, Admin Staff From Cardiology Get Sneak Peek at Epic
May 2, 2019 - Depression increases hospital use and mortality in children
May 2, 2019 - Vicon and NOC support CURE International to create first gait lab in Ethiopia
May 2, 2019 - Researchers use 3D printer to make paper organs
May 2, 2019 - Viral infection in utero associated with behavioral abnormalities in offspring
May 2, 2019 - U.S. Teen Opioid Deaths Soaring
May 2, 2019 - Opioid distribution data should be public
May 2, 2019 - In the Spotlight: “I’m learning every single day”
May 2, 2019 - 2019 Schaefer Scholars Announced
May 2, 2019 - Podcast: KHN’s ‘What The Health?’ Bye-Bye, ACA, And Hello ‘Medicare-For-All’?
May 2, 2019 - Study describes new viral molecular evasion mechanism used by cytomegalovirus
May 2, 2019 - SLU study suggests a more equitable way for Medicare reimbursement
May 2, 2019 - Scientists discover first gene involved in lower urinary tract obstruction
May 2, 2019 - Researchers identify 34 genes associated with increased risk of ovarian cancer
May 2, 2019 - Many low-income infants receive formula in the first few days of life, finds study
May 2, 2019 - Global study finds high success rate for hip and knee replacements
May 2, 2019 - Taking depression seriously: What is it?
May 2, 2019 - With Head Injuries Mounting, Will Cities Put Their Feet Down On E-Scooters?
May 2, 2019 - Scientists develop small fluorophores for tracking metabolites in living cells
May 2, 2019 - Study casts new light into how mothers’ and babies’ genes influence birth weight
May 2, 2019 - Researchers uncover new brain mechanisms regulating body weight
May 2, 2019 - Organ-on-chip systems offered to Asia-Pacific regions by Sydney’s AXT
May 2, 2019 - Adoption of new rules drops readmission penalties against safety net hospitals
May 2, 2019 - Kids and teens who consume zero-calorie sweetened beverages do not save calories
May 2, 2019 - Improved procedure for cancer-related erectile dysfunction
May 2, 2019 - Hormone may improve social behavior in autism
May 2, 2019 - Alzheimer’s disease may be caused by infectious proteins called prions
May 2, 2019 - Even Doctors Can’t Navigate Our ‘Broken Health Care System’
May 2, 2019 - Study looks at the impact on criminal persistence of head injuries
May 2, 2019 - Honey ‘as high in sugars as table sugar’
May 2, 2019 - Innovations to U.S. food system could help consumers in choosing healthy foods
May 2, 2019 - FDA Approves Mavyret (glecaprevir and pibrentasvir) as First Treatment for All Genotypes of Hepatitis C in Pediatric Patients
May 2, 2019 - Women underreport prevalence and intensity of their own snoring
May 2, 2019 - Concussion summit focuses on science behind brain injury
May 2, 2019 - Booker’s Argument For Environmental Justice Stays Within The Lines
May 2, 2019 - Cornell research explains increased metastatic cancer risk in diabetics
May 2, 2019 - Mount Sinai study provides fresh insights into cellular pathways that cause cancer
May 2, 2019 - Researchers to study link between prenatal pesticide exposures and childhood ADHD
May 2, 2019 - CoGEN Congress 2019: Speakers’ overviews
May 2, 2019 - A new strategy for managing diabetic macular edema in people with good vision
May 2, 2019 - Sagent Pharmaceuticals Issues Voluntary Nationwide Recall of Ketorolac Tromethamine Injection, USP, 60mg/2mL (30mg per mL) Due to Lack of Sterility Assurance
May 2, 2019 - Screen time associated with behavioral problems in preschoolers
May 2, 2019 - Hormone reduces social impairment in kids with autism | News Center
May 2, 2019 - Researchers synthesize peroxidase-mimicking nanozyme with low cost and superior catalytic activity
May 2, 2019 - Study results of a potential drug to treat Type 2 diabetes in children announced
May 2, 2019 - Multigene test helps doctors to make effective treatment decisions for breast cancer patients
May 2, 2019 - UNC School of Medicine initiative providing unique care to dementia patients
May 2, 2019 - Nestlé Health Science and VHP join forces to launch innovative COPES program for cancer patients
May 2, 2019 - Study examines how our brain generates consciousness and loses it during anesthesia
May 2, 2019 - Transition Support Program May Aid Young Adults With Type 1 Diabetes
May 2, 2019 - Study shows how neutrophils exacerbate atherosclerosis by inducing smooth muscle-cell death
May 2, 2019 - Research reveals complexity of how we make decisions
Neural circuits underlying a psychotherapeutic regimen for fear disorders

Neural circuits underlying a psychotherapeutic regimen for fear disorders

Shedding light on the pathway to put the traumatic past behind
ABS pairing demonstrating the long-lasting reduction of traumatic fear. Credit: IBS

While visually tracking a moving light swinging side to side, a person’s attention is naturally diverted to that movement, and what was previously in their mind is placed to the side. This alternating bilateral sensory stimulation (ABS) as part of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is assumed to support the neural integration of new perspectives and healing of negatively charged memories.

Though this treatment has been recognized for long-lasting healing effects, its underlying neural basis has remained unclear. Because of the lack of scientific explanations, many psychiatric doctors shun this form of therapy, although it is listed in many psychotherapeutic manuals. Researchers from the Center for Cognition and Sociality within the Institute for Basic Science (IBS)have now identified the brain pathway where ABS works to induce a persistent fear reduction.

In EMDR, patients are instructed to recall a traumatic memory while receiving ABS. Given that this connected visual-attentional process is commonly used for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) patients, the researchers hypothesized that a brain region responsible for eye movement and attention, the superior colliculus (SC), may be involved in the fear-reducing effect of ABS.

The researchers first examined whether ABS-paired treatment prevents the return of fear. To form a fear memory in mice, the researchers first subjected them to a sound stimulus while also giving them a mild foot shock, training them to associate the sound with a painful experience. Freezing in location established fear in the mice. The mice were then repeatedly exposed to the anxiety-producing sound, but now without the electric shocks, until they no longer found the sound to be stressful. This is known as fear extinction therapy. This conventional exposure therapy in humans is often followed by a severe relapse of symptoms. To test the effects of visual simulation on fear responses in mice, the researchers placed the mice in a cylinder-shaped container with LEDs installed on the wall.

In the conventional fear reduction procedure (top), the CS group are subjected to the anxiety-producing sound without electric shocks. Since a freezing response decreases at a slow rate, mice exhibited extreme freezing responses both at the first (a) and second (b) auditory stimulations. In the ABS pairing (bottom), moving LED light was presented with the second auditory stimulation. While an extreme freezing response was also seen in mice at the first auditory stimulation (c), the pairing auditory stimulation with moving light (d) induced a significant decrease in mice’s freezing response. Credit: IBS

The conventional fear reduction procedure eased down fear responses (freezing) with repeated exposure to the sound in the location where the foot shocks previously took place. However, fear responses often return when the sound is presented one week later in the same location or in a new location. In contrast, ABS pairing, in which the visual stimulation of a moving light accompanied the sound brought a persistent fear reduction without a significant return, confirming powerful effect of ABS pairing to reduce fear.

The researchers found enhanced neuronal activities in the SC and the mediodorsal thalamic nucleus (MD) that receives inputs from the SC. They wondered if this SC-MD pathway might be the route where ABS travels, thereby resulting in the reduction of fear. “To confirm this causal link, we blocked the SC-MD route during ABS pairing by using a yellow laser light,” says Jinhee Baek, one of the first authors of the study. This modulation blocked the effect of ABS and brought a significant return of fear. Conversely, when blue laser light stimulated the neuronal activities in the SC-MD pathway, mice showed significantly reduced freezing without fear relapses. Using these experiments, the researchers identified the SC-MD pathway is essential for preventing the return of fear.

Mr. Baek says, “Then we wondered which mechanism suppresses the expression of fear.” The researchers looked into the basolateral amygdala (BLA), a brain area that controls fear expression and stores fear memory. ABS pairing inhibited fear-expressing neurons in the BLA. Using a yellow laser light, the researchers blocked the MD-BLA pathway. The blockage induced excitatory activities and also delayed inhibitory responses in the BLA. “This study discovered a novel function of MD neurons in suppressing BLA fear responses,” explains Mr. Baek.

Shedding light on the pathway to put the traumatic past behind
The image illustrates the ABS pairing experiment where a mouse gets relaxed receiving ABS while recalling its traumatic experience. Credit: Jenny Kwak

Studies using animal models have focused on direct approaches by removing the original fear memory with chemicals that impair synapses or neurons, making these approaches inappropriate for clinical applications. Also, current psychotherapeutic methods have been used in humans without a clear understanding of how those treatments reduce traumatic symptoms. The study discovered neuronal circuits underlying the psychotherapeutic method. The superior colliculus (SC), only known to be responsible for eye movement and attention, was previously not considered to be involved in the modulation of learned fear responses. Notably, the neuronal pathway reported in this study induces more stable inhibition of fear without significant return of fear responses. “By shedding light on the underlying brain circuits of ABS pairing’s powerful effects to reduce fear, this study can come as a powerful reassurance of its fear-reducing effects to PTSD patients,” says Dr. Hee-Sup Shin, one of corresponding authors of the study.

Eye movements take edge off traumatic memories

More information:
Jinhee Baek et al. Neural circuits underlying a psychotherapeutic regimen for fear disorders. Nature (2019 February). DOI: 10.1038/s41586-019-0931-y ,

Provided by
Institute for Basic Science

Neural circuits underlying a psychotherapeutic regimen for fear disorders (2019, February 14)
retrieved 28 February 2019

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles