Salimetrics

07.24.2014 - ASU Researcher Shows How Stress Hormones Promote Brain’s Building of Negative Memories

Author: Segal S.K., et al. (2014) Neuroscience.

Glucocorticoids interact with noradrenergic activation at encoding to enhance long-term memory for emotional material in women.

Evidence from the animal literature suggests that post-training glucocorticoids (GCs) interact with noradrenergic activation at acquisition to enhance memory consolidation for emotional stimuli. While there is evidence that GCs enhance memory for emotional material in humans, the extent to which this depends on noradrenergic activation at encoding has not been explored. In this study, 20-mg hydrocortisone was administered to healthy young women (18-35yrs old) in a double-blind fashion 10min prior to viewing a series of emotional and neutral images. Saliva samples were taken at baseline, 10min after drug or placebo administration, immediately after viewing the images, 10, 20, and 30min after viewing the images. Participants returned 1week later for a surprise recall test. Results suggest that, hydrocortisone administration resulted in emotional memory enhancement only in participants who displayed an increase in endogenous noradrenergic activation, measured via salivary alpha-amylase at encoding. These results support findings in the animal literature that GC-induced memory enhancement relies on noradrenergic activation at encoding in women.

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