Medicine news

Manipulation of memories will help to get rid of phobias

A phobia of spiders (arachnophobia) is one of the strongest. There is a method of treatment of this phobia. The person is forced to contact with the source of his fear. It is believed that the brain gradually becomes accustomed to and is a new, secure memory, which overrides the negative memories of the Association. But the new memory is not always kept long.

That is, over time, a phobia can come back. The Uppsala University and the Karolinska Institute have figured out how to secure the new positive memory. They tried to disrupt the recovery of memories of fear. Usually, when a person is reminded of some object, memories become unstable, because they are saved again. And that re-saving is a re-consolidation of memories. If the re-shaping of memories to break at this stage, the memory itself can be changed.

Scientists have shown that people with arachnophobia pictures of spiders. At this point assessed the level of activity in the amygdala (associated with fear). Photos activated memories of fear (the first was showing some photos), and then contact with the source of fear became stronger. The next day, the people re-examined the photos. On the second day, the activity levels in the amygdala were significantly lower in study participants compared with the control group. This suggests that fear is weakened. According to scientists, even the most long-standing memories can make unstable.

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