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Using Propranolol to Block Memory Reconsolidation in Female Veterans with PTSD

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Technical Report,15 Sep 2008,31 Jul 2015

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Wayne State University Detroit United States

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The goal of this Army-funded translational research project was to generate a pilot sample of data from an investigation of a novel therapeutic approach to posttraumatic stress disorder PTSD. Current treatments for PTSD include exposure and other aspects of cognitive therapy, as well as, drug therapies based on serotonin-reuptake inhibiting antidepressant agents. However, these treatments are often unsuccessful and symptoms in affected individuals may persist for decades. The central hypothesis guiding this research project posits that acquired fear responses, such as those in PTSD,when reactivated by recall become sensitive to noradrenergic modulation and thus maybe permanently attenuated by blocking noradrenergic transmission. In the current study, we investigated this model in three groups of female Veterans of either Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, or Operation New Dawn OIFOEFOND with PTSD 1 Individuals who receive propranolol following recall of a traumatic memoryPropranolol-trauma 2 Individuals who receive placebo following recall of a traumatic memory Placebo-trauma, and 3 Individuals who receive propranolol following recall of an affective neutral memory Propranolol-neutral. In addition, traumatic memory recall was psychophysiologically assessed by measuring Service Members facial corrugator electromyography EMG, skin conductance, and cardiovascular inter-beat interval responses pre- and four weeks post-mediation administration. Estrogen has been hypothesized to influence rates of memory reconsolidation, such that lower levels of estrogen should be related to greater reconsolidation. The role of estrogen in facilitating reconsolidation was assessed in the current study.

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