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Beta-blockers erase emotion of fearful memories

Memory remains, but feeling of fear is less or gone, shows experimental study in people

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12:58pm, February 15, 2009

The first experimental study in humans connecting beta-blockers and memory suggests these drugs, usually taken to treat heart conditions, can also wipe away the emotions associated with frightening memories. The power of such memories could be dampened when a person thinks about the traumatic events after taking the drugs, scientists say.

Clinical psychologist Merel Kindt of the University of Amsterdam and her colleagues report the new finding online February 15 in Nature Neuroscience. The research builds on a clinical study published in the May 2008 Journal of Psychiatric Research that suggested beta-blockers helped patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD.

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