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Understanding biology of emotional disorders


Narrator:       This is Science Today. New research examining the link between emotion and memory formation could lead to therapies for anxiety and mood disorders. According to neuroscientists at the University of California, Berkeley, highly emotional experiences induce the brain's hippocampus to create new neurons on which the memory is imprinted.

Kirby:             So what we looked at is whether or not a particular part of the amygdala that seems to mediate this emotion effect on memory might actually influence these new cells. And what we found is that they seemed to support the birth of these new cells.

Narrator:       Graduate student researcher Elizabeth Kirby explains that understanding the function of these new cells is an important first step in learning to treat, or even prevent, emotional disorders.

Kirby:             Things like post traumatic stress disorder, even depression and anxiety disorders are characterized by negative memories that are improperly encoded or intrusive and knowing if these new cells are involved can perhaps help target treatments or just a better understanding of the biology of these disorders.

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.