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New strategies to change traumatic memories

Abstract

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has been understood as failure to get over traumatic memories or to extinguish conditioned responses related to traumatic events. Current behavioral treatments, such as Prolonged Exposure (PE), aim to promote such processes, however, high rates of relapse and the existence of refractory cases demand new strategies. One line of research has gained special attention in this sense: the one that disrupt the reconsolidation of memories. In the present study, three experiments intend to explore it. In "Experiment 1", recent trauma victims will be randomized to receive PE: 1- within the traumatic retrieval window, or 2- without prior traumatic retrieval. It is expected that group 1 will have less responses to traumatic memory retrieval in future tests. In "Experiment 2", subjects with severe and refractory PTSD will be randomly assigned to receive Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) in one of the 2 groups described in "Experiment 1", in order to assess whether the technique applied after retrieval would cause greater disruption to the traumatic memory. In "Experiment 3", a laboratory model of fear will be applied in subjects who are receiving ECT for clinical reasons. Patients will be randomly assigned to get an ECT session in one of the two models described in Experiments 1 and 2. It is expected that the results can increase the knowledge about new forms of treatment and prevention of PTSD. (AU)

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
VERMES, JOANA SINGER; AYRES, RICARDO; GOES, ADARA SAITO; DEL REAL, NATALIA; ARAUJO, ALVARO CABRAL; SCHILLER, DANIELA; LOTUFO NETO, FRANCISCO; CORCHS, FELIPE. Targeting the reconsolidation of traumatic memories with a brief 2-session imaginal exposure intervention in post-traumatic stress disorder. Journal of Affective Disorders, v. 276, p. 487-494, . (14/04810-0)

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