A Psychophysiologic Study of Weakening Traumatic Combat Memories With Post-Reactivation Propranolol
Annual rept. 1 Jun 2007-31 May 2008
GENERAL HOSPITAL CORP BOSTON MA
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The objective of this project is to test whether the beta-adrenergic blocker propranolol, given following combat memory reactivation, results in a significantly greater weakening of traumatic memories than propranolol alone, supporting the proposition that this weakening is due to pharmacological blockade of memory reconsolidation, rather than non-specific actions of propranolol. We hypothesize that subjects who undergo script preparation for the combat events that caused their PTSD, followed by post-reactivation propranolol, will show significantly smaller psychophysiologic responses during script-driven imagery testing a week later, indicative of weakening of the emotional memory, compared to those who receive non-reactivation propranolol two days prior to combat script preparation. Subjects will be randomly assigned to one of two groups post-reactivation propranolol or non-reactivation propranolol. Subjects randomized to the non-reactivation propranolol group will receive a test dose of propranolol, whereas subjects randomized to the post-reactivation propranolol group will receive placebo. Two days later, all subjects will return for an approximate 15-30 minute script preparation session, at which flme they will describe the details of their traumatic combat events. Subjects randomized to the post-reactivation propranolol group will then receive propranolol, whereas subjects randomized to the non-reactivation propranolol group will receive placebo. Scripts will be composed portraying each subjects personal combat events in their own words. Subjects will return to the psychophysiology laboratory one week and six months later. During each of these visits, heart rate, skin conductance, and corrugator electromyogram responses during will be recorded during script-driven imagery of personal combat events.
- Medicine and Medical Research