Study Could Lead to New Therapies for PTSD

An image from the research is featured on the cover of the May 10 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience. Image credit: Society for Neuroscience.

Research published by scientists at UCR on “fear memory” could lead to the development of therapies that reduce the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

To survive in a dynamic environment, animals develop adaptive fear responses to dangerous situations, requiring coordinated neural activity in the hippocampus, medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), and amygdala – three brain areas connected to one another. A disruption of this process leads to maladaptive generalized fear in PTSD, which affects 7 percent of the U.S. population.

Jun-Hyeong Cho, an assistant professor of cell biology and neuroscience and Woong Bin Kim, a postdoctoral researcher in Cho’s lab, have now found that a population of hippocampal neurons project to both the amygdala and the mPFC, and that it is these neurons that efficiently convey information to these two brain areas to encode and retrieve fear memory for a context associated with an aversive event.

The study, which appeared in the May 10 print issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, is the first to quantify these “double-projecting” hippocampal neurons and explain how they convey contextual information more efficiently for fear responses, compared to hippocampal neurons that project only to either the mPFC or the amygdala.

Read the full story.

UCR Study Sheds Light on Earth’s First Animals

A photo of a Dickinsonia fossil.

Researchers at UC Riverside are studying the world’s oldest fossil animal, Dickinsonia, to learn more about the evolutionary history of animals.

More than 550 million years ago, the oceans were teeming with flat, soft-bodied creatures that fed on microbes and algae and could grow as big as bathmats. Today, researchers at UCR are studying their fossils to unlock the secrets of early life.

In their latest study, published today in the journal PLOS ONE, Scott Evans, a graduate student in the Department of Earth Sciences, and Mary Droser, a professor of paleontology, both in the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, show that the Ediacaran-era animal Dickinsonia developed in a complex, highly regulated way using a similar genetic toolkit to today’s animals. The study helps place Dickinsonia in the early evolution of animal life, and showcases how the large, mobile sea creature grew and developed.

“Part of this study was trying to put Dickinsonia in context in the development of early life. We wanted to know if these creatures were part of a group of animals that survived — or a failed evolutionary experiment. This research adds to our knowledge about these animals and our understanding of life on Earth as an artifact of half a billion years of evolution,” Droser said.

Read the full story.

Top of Page

Page 1 of 11212345678203040Last >>