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Bad Memories Don’t Have to Last Forever

Painful emotional memories may not be permanent, according to researchers from the University of Montreal. Manipulating hormone levels can decrease the recall and reconsolidation of negative memories.Memories are continuously retrieved and reactivated, which keeps the memories alive. Researchers have shown that glucocorticoids, such as cortisol, modulate this process.

Painful emotional memories may not be permanent, according to researchers from the University of Montreal. Manipulating hormone levels can decrease the recall and reconsolidation of negative memories.

Memories are continuously retrieved and reactivated, which keeps the memories alive. Researchers have shown that glucocorticoids, such as cortisol, modulate this process. Glucocorticoids are released in response to stress and affect memory retrieval; they are also important in the formation of new memories. Lowering cortisol levels before memory recall has long-lasting effects, according to the current study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

The study included 33 male young adults who listened to a story that contained emotionally neutral and negative events. Three days later, the men were divided into three groups: one group received 750 mg of metyrapone, a drug that inhibits cortisol secretion, one group received 1500 mg of metyrapone, and one group received a placebo. The men were then asked to remember the story. Four days later, all the men were asked to remember the story again, when cortisol levels were normal in all groups.

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