University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Department of Psychiatry & CPFT Thursday Lunchtime Seminar Series > Can We Rewrite Maladaptive Memories? The Potential and Challenges of Harnessing Memory Reconsolidation as a Therapeutic Target in Mental Health

Can We Rewrite Maladaptive Memories? The Potential and Challenges of Harnessing Memory Reconsolidation as a Therapeutic Target in Mental Health

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Chair: Prof Jeff Dalley

Abstract: Maladaptive memories are thought to play a key role in ‘acquired’ mental health disorders like addiction, PTSD and phobia, by eliciting maladaptive responses (e.g. craving) in response to environmental triggers. Such ‘maladaptive memories’ are therefore thought to be a key transdiagnostic therapeutic target for relapse prevention in several disorders. However, we do not currently have therapies that can effectively silence maladaptive memories, with return of maladaptive behaviour being typical following current ‘exposure therapies’. I will present clinical translational work examining the potential of silencing established memories via the process of ‘reconsolidation’, during which memories become briefly unstable and open to interference. This will highlight pharmacological and behavioural approaches to modifying memories and early clinical assessments of reconsolidation as a therapeutic mechanism. Both translational successes and failures will be discussed to highlight the key challenges ahead and make recommendations for bringing memory plasticity-based therapies to the clinic.

Biography: Dr. Ravi Das is an Associate Professor in Psychopharmacology and Joint Director of the Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit at University College London. His research aims to translate insights into the mechanisms of neural and behavioural plasticity into improved treatments for mental health disorders. This primarily focuses on maladaptive learning and memory, using behavioural and drug approaches to assess candidate new candidate treatments in an experimental medicine setting. For detailed biography of Dr Das, please visit: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/educational-psychology/people/ravi_das.html

This talk is part of the Department of Psychiatry & CPFT Thursday Lunchtime Seminar Series series.

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