Featured Project: Home Base receives funding to pioneer innovative PTS treatment research
Home Base has received funding from the National Institute of Mental Health to conduct a research project – Mismatch vs. standard intervention during memory reconsolidation blockade with propranolol: effect on psychophysiological reactivity during traumatic imagery – that will attempt to further develop a novel intervention for posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTS) inspired by the science of memory reconsolidation. The project will be led by Home Base Senior Director of Research Kaloyan Tanev, MD, and Scott Orr, PhD, of Massachusetts General Hospital.
Prior trials have found that when propranolol is administered with the reactivation of a traumatic memory, the memory is weakened, as revealed by lower physiological responses to traumatic reminders. Participants who underwent traumatic memory reactivation and received propranolol showed a greater reduction of PTS, as revealed by lower physiological responses such as decreased heart rate, than those who received placebo.
The goal of the proposed study is to test whether intentionally incorporating an unexpected mismatch (MM) into traumatic memory reactivation can improve physiological outcomes. Throughout the six-week trial, the standard group participants will read the narrative the same way each time, while the MM group participants will be instructed to read the narrative in different, unexpected ways, such as by changing the chair they sit on while reading. The focus of the project is to assess whether the MM group shows lower physiological responses to traumatic reminders than the standard group. To our knowledge, the use of psychophysiological techniques to elucidate the role of MM in human memory reconsolidation and its blockade has not yet been attempted and, hence, is highly innovative.
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