Gene variant enhances memory and increases risk of PTSD

Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - 08:02 in Biology & Nature

The downside to having a good memoryA genetic variant associated with an enhanced capacity for emotional memories is also linked to increased susceptibility to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to new research published yesterday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.The study, led by Dominique de Quervain of the University of Basel, used a combination of behavioural genetics and functional neuroimaging, and was carried out in three phases, two involving healthy European volunteers and the third involving Rwandan refugees who fled the 1994 civil war. I describe the work in more detail in this news story for Nature.It's widely believed that memories are formed by the strengthening of connections within distributed networks of neurons. This process involves the orchestrated activity of dozens of proteins – the neurotransmitter receptors embedded in the nerve cell membranes, and their "effectors," the components of the biochemical signalling pathways inside the cells that are...

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