Lecture – Trauma and the Brain – From Molecules to Mobile Phones

Available with English captions.

Laura Germine, PhD, and Stephanie A. Maddox, PhD, McLean Hospital – Crossroads in Psychiatry lecture

Memories are central to our lives, allow us to flexibly respond to new situations, demonstrate knowledge, and even protect us from future dangerous situations. Unfortunately, memories resulting from traumatic experiences often become inflexible, heavily rooted, and can impair one’s ability to appropriately distinguish safe and dangerous contexts.

This presentation addresses the successes and challenges of both basic neuroscience and big data approaches to understanding the complexities of how the brain processes information related to trauma.

Presentation highlights include:

  • Description of the basic circuitry involved in the formation of most basic trauma-related memories
  • Discussion of the strengths and challenges of basic neuroscience models in addressing disorders involving traumatic memory
  • Identification of factors that impact our ability to measure differences in memory and cognition using personal digital devices

By reconceptualizing traumatic memories into an “engram” structure, the successes of basic neuroscience approaches are discussed alongside the recent advancements in digital and molecular biology tools that will be critical in propelling the field forward in our understating of memory processes as well as in revealing potential novel therapeutic approaches.