Positive memories can help fight depression

Positive memories can help fight depression

Remembering pleasant moments in our lives promotes our well-being. However, the role of positive memories could be much more powerful than we imagine. In addition to promoting the regulation of emotions, these memories have a positive effect on depression due to stress.

A group of scientists conducted an experiment on this subject with laboratory mice. It was then announced that Artificial reactivation of stored memories during a positive experience can suppress the effects of stress depression. deepen.

"The research shows how positive and negative memories interact on disorders of moral state and provide a specific brain circuit for future clinical interventions."
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Positive memories artificially induced

The work that demonstrated the relationship between positive memories and depression, published in the journal Nature, was conducted by scientists at the RIKEN-MIT Center for Neural Circuit Genetics, in collaboration with the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The research was conducted in the laboratory of Susumu Tonegawa, director of RIKEN Brain Science Institute Susumu Tonegawa and professor at MIT, who in 1987 received a Nobel Prize for the discovery of antibody diversity. The study addressed the following question: Can a positive memory crush a negative memory?

To answer the question, we used genetic engineering. This technique was used to create mice in which the memory cells of a brain's convolution, called the dentate gyrus, could be identified in parallel with the creation of memories and reactivated later thanks to an optical fiber emitting a blue light implanted in the brain. the same place. The research team was then able to activate memory cells created in previous experiments.

To test the system, Male mice were exposed to a positive experiment (exposure of a female mouse) and a memory of this experiment was then created.. Then, the mice were exposed to a stressful experience that plunged them into a state similar to depression. In addition, while the mice were depressed, lights were used to stimulate the dentate gyrus of some of them and thus reactivate the cells of the positive experience.

Storing positive memories is fundamental

In a surprising way, this experiment gave rise to a significant recovery of the moral state of depressed mice that were subject to this technique. In addition, the mapping of the brain circuit of this effect revealed two other brain areas that cooperate with the dentate gyrus for the activation of positive memories: the nucleus accumbens and the baso-lateral amygdala.

On the other hand, researchers performed a chronic gyrus light therapy for more than 5 days. This allowed them to know if this type of recovery from depression was able to induce persistent changes within the brain circuits receiving no light stimulation. They discovered that light guaranteed the sustained reactivation of positive memories.

Mice receiving this therapy were resistant to the negative effects of stress depression.. This means that storing positive experiences in memory can be used to suppress or crush the negative effects of behavioral stress. This supposes a new way of conceptualizing the control of the moral state.

The results have important implications for the persistence of memories in the confrontation of moral state disorders such as depression and secondly, stress.
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Although the interaction between positive and negative experiences and their corresponding memories is little known, these findings open the door to new approaches to the therapy of disorders of moral state.

The authors state thatit is too early to say that positive memories can usually crush the effects of stress depression. However, it is a possibility for research and development of treatments to fight depression.

Depression and silent suffering

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