brain receptors it turns out really are the key to strong memories

on 03 May 2018
it ain't what you think, it's the way that you think it

Don't you just love scientists! There is such an uncanny similarity to this research and hypnotherapy. It is the strengthening of unwanted memories that bring the client into therapy and it is the strengthening of wanted memories that help them back to a normal life . . . . . . . . . . . . 

In one sense or another, memory is the key to life, be it a bad one or a good one. From the moment we get up in the morning we are at the mercy or blessing of our memories. We couldn't brush our teeth, tie our shoelaces or button our blouse without the memory of how to do it. But it is the memories in the emotional brain that often make life a challenge. Essentially it is like an internal security guard, standing firm in the case of need 24/7/365. So, while we go about our everyday chores, it attempts to keep us safe. However, it doesn't always get it right and it doesn't care either. Because keeping you safe and alive is its objective, it's concerned only with the longevity of your life, not the quality of it!

Hypnotherapy works because at the subconscious level, it can change memories (reconsolidation) and change them in a way that allows the brain to function more normally and more naturally. It is this same process that creates the maladaptive thoughts that allow anxiety to escalate out of all proportion. So, hypnotherapy works by taking advantage of the way the brain works! When, in hypnosis, you are guided to a place, to have an experience that the brain has to process and it is in this process that the brain/mind create a memory of this experience. Then, through a posthypnotic suggestion, the brain is instructed to replay this new memory at a certain time or under a particular circumstance. It is the subconscious repetition of this process that eventually cements this new way of being, behaving, thinking that ultimately rewires the brain - Hebbian plasticity in action! 

Essentially we can learn to use the mind in a way that it allows it to function in SuperDrive. If you close your eyes and think of the worst time of your life, it is likely you will begin to feel those feelings. Similarly, if you were to think of the most wonderful and happy time of your life, you'll feel those feeling too; it's all in your mind!

My aim here is to highlight the way hypnosis can help many people, who have conditions or difficulties that confuse them or, have a condition that is not responding to other medical or therapeutic interventions.

Hypnotherapy, essentially helping ordinary people; live a more ordinary life! To find out more, why not make an appointment for a Free Consultation - here


The Research:  

When we create a memory, a pattern of connections forms between neurons in the brain. New work from UC Davis shows how these connections can be strengthened or weakened at a molecular level. The study is published Feb. 27 in the journal Cell Reports.

Neurons branch into many small fibres, called dendrites, that connect to other neurons across tiny gaps called synapses. Messages travel across synapses as chemical signals: A molecule, or neurotransmitter, is released on one side of the synapse and connects with a receptor on the other side, a bit like tossing a ball and a fielder catching it in a mitt.

One of the most important of these catcher's mitts is the AMPA-type glutamate receptor, responsible for fast synaptic transmission within the brain, said Elva Diaz, associate professor of pharmacology at UC Davis and senior author on the paper. The AMPA receptors are embedded in the cell membrane but quite mobile and can add to or take away from the synapse by moving in or out of it, she said.

"The idea is that when a synapse experiences signalling that could lead to a new memory, it needs to recruit new receptors," she said. More receptors in the synapse means a stronger memory -- just as bringing more fielders out of the dugout will mean more balls get caught. Diaz' team is trying to figure out how this movement of receptors in and out of the synapse is regulated, especially in cells of the hippocampus, a small structure within the brain that is crucial to memory function. They have now identified a protein called SynDIG4 that interacts with AMPA receptors and appears to establish a reserve pool of receptors outside the synapse that can be quickly recruited to strengthen memories.

Working with researchers at the UC Davis MIND Institute, the team was able to test the cognitive function of gene-knockout mice that lack SynDIG4. These mice, although otherwise normal, fail at simple memory tasks such as navigating a maze. They seem to have essentially no memory. SynDIG4 is part of a highly conserved family of proteins found in humans and other animals, Diaz said. In future work, they plan to try to figure out exactly how SynDIG4 modulates synaptic plasticity, working in mice and cultured cells.


Story Source:

Materials provided by University of California - DavisNote: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Lucas Matt, Lyndsey M. Kirk, George Chenaux, David J. Speca, Kyle R. Puhger, Michael C. Pride, Mohammad Qneibi, Tomer Haham, Kristopher E. Plambeck, Yael Stern-Bach, Jill L. Silverman, Jacqueline N. Crawley, Johannes W. Hell, Elva Díaz. SynDIG4/Prrt1 Is Required for Excitatory Synapse Development and Plasticity Underlying Cognitive FunctionCell Reports, 2018; 22 (9): 2246 DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2018.02.026