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Using Propranolol to Block Memory Reconsolidation in Female Veterans with PTSD

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Annual rept. 15 Sep 2010-14 Sep 2011

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One of the hallmark features of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder PTSD is a marked increased in physical arousal i.e., increased heart rate, muscle tension, etc. when recalling a trauma-related memory. In this manner, a treatment that decreased the hyper-arousal of a traumatic memory to less-impairing levels may do well in allowing an individual with PTSD to return to his or her daily life. However, there is an imbalance at the heart of combat PTSD-related research in over three decades worth of research on combat stress PTSD physiology, only 3 66 out of 1,985 participants of the Veterans studied were women. This paucity of research is in the face of the fact that PTSD is twice as likely to occur in women. Our research investigates a novel method of reducing the hyper-arousal associated with combat memories in Female Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom Veterans with PTSD. Our study compares Female Veterans who take propranolol after a combat memory to both Female Veterans who take a non-active placebo pill after a combat memory and those who take propranolol after a non-combat memory to make sure that propranolol doesn t have a general effect on physical reactions. All participants in our study are tested during the early follicular phase of the menstrual cycle, a time in which levels of estrogen are low. Data collection has begun and continues at this time. We are in the process of adding a second study site to complete the study.

Subject Categories:

  • Psychology
  • Medicine and Medical Research
  • Stress Physiology

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