Memory Reconsolidation Interference as an Emerging Treatment for Emotional Disorders: Strengths, Limitations, Challenges, and Opportunities


Mappe: Boundaries 2017 a + Merenl Kindt

Tom Beckers and Merel Kindt

Experimental research on emotional memory reconsolidation interference, or the induction of amnesia for previously established emotional memory, has a long tradition, but the potential of that research for the development of novel interventions to treat psychological disorders has been recognized only recently. Here we provide an overview of basic research and clinical studies

on emotional memory reconsolidation interference. We point out specific advantages of interventions based on memory reconsolidation interference over traditional treatment for emotional disorders. We also explain how findings from basic research suggest limitations and challenges to clinical translation that may help to understand why clinical trials have met with mixed success so far and how their success can be increased. In closing, we preview new intervention approaches beyond the induction of amnesia that the phenomenon of memory reconsolidation may afford for alleviating the burden imposed by emotional memories and comment on theoretical controversies regarding the nature of memory reconsolidation.

Reconsolidation of Human Memory: Brain Mechanisms and Clinical Relevance

Mappe: authors/Karim Nader 2014 a

Lars Schwabe, Karim Nader, and Jens C. Pruessner

The processes of memory formation and storage are complex and highly dynamic. Once memories are consolidated, they are not necessarily fixed but can be changed long after storage. In particular, seemingly stable memories may re-enter an unstable state when they are retrieved, from which they must be re-stabilized during a process known as reconsolidation. During reconsolidation, memories are susceptible to modifications again, thus providing an opportunity to update seemingly stable memories. While initial demonstrations of memory reconsolidation came mainly from animal studies, evidence for reconsolidation in humans is now accumulating as well. Here, we review recent advances in our understanding of human memory reconsolidation. After a summary of findings on the reconsolidation of human fear and episodic memory, we focus particularly on recent neuroimaging data that provide first insights into how reconsolidation processes are implemented in the human brain. Finally, we discuss the implications of memory modifications during reconsolidation for the treatment of mental disorders such as posttraumatic stress disorder and drug addiction.