Research Study

Study: A Nucleus controls Traumatic Sounds and Events as Memories


A NYU Medical Center’s research has revealed that there is a link between sounds and memory formation and that such a link comes from the locus coeruleus in the brain.

The team at NYU Medical Center studied this particular neuron in rats. In a two-week period, the researchers chemically stimulated the rats’ locus coeruleus while giving the rats treats and playing a specific sound. After two weeks, the researchers played the sound again in the subsequent two weeks and found that the same parts of the rats’ brain (i.e. the auditory cortex and the locus coeruleus) would display activity, no matter how almost inaudible the sounds were when played.

It was also found that there was 100% neural activity in the auditory cortex when locus coeruleus had been chemically stimulated, even in the absence of the triggering sounds, in contrast to ten times less activity in the auditory cortex when the locus coeruleus had been chemically stifled.

The research team concluded that as the sounds were paired with a reward, the rats’ ability to perceive sound improved.

Then, the team experimented with pairing sounds with mild shocks and found that even when the shocks had stopped and only the sounds were playing, the locus coeruleus reacted in the same way, at 20 neuron spikes every second.

The primary investigator, neuroscientist Robert C. Froemke, PhD, who is also an assistant professor at NYU Langone believe that their research could potentially help to “alter or minimize memories involved in disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder”, as well as to “improve the hearing and memory abilities” in those with Alzheimer’s disease.

Source: Newswise, Inc.

Trauma your parents experienced may still be hurting you


New York’s Mount Sinai hospital found that gene changes stemming from Nazi torture and trauma can be passed down to offspring. Evidence supporting that genetic changes from environmental factors can be passed down to children (aka epigenetic inheritance) is the first of its kind.

The genes of 32 Jewish men and women who had been in a Nazi concentration camp during WWII and their children were analyzed and compared with those who were residing outside of Europe at the time of the war.

The research team focused their efforts in a region of a gene associated with stress hormone regulation. They found a correlation of epigenetic tags in the Holocaust survivors and their children, but none in the control group. It was also ruled out that the epigenetic tags were ones derived from the trauma that the children had survived themselves.

More research, however, is needed to identify how these epigenetic tags came to be inherited by the children, as genetic information is not influenced by the environment and it is thought that epigenetic  tags were wiped clean soon after the fertilization of the egg.

Source: The Guardian

Veterans’ Disturbed Sleep Impacting their Recovery and Quality of Life


(Boston) Unsurprisingly, a study conducted by the Boston University Medical Center has found that low quality sleep in veterans with Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) may impact the treatment of the patient.

The report also states that regardless of the severity of the injury, 40-65% suffer from permanent insomnia. This might be due, in part, to the restorative powers that deep sleep provides, which is critical to treatment. Further research is needed in the area of sleep-focused interventions.

We, here at the Traumatology Institute, would like to challenge those having difficulties sleeping to Improve Sleep by relaxing deeply & embedding positive messages.