A common variant of a neurotransmitter receptor gene is related to better emotional memory reports a paper in the September 2007 issue of Nature Neuroscience. People with this variant of the gene, which encodes the alpha2b adrenergic receptor, demonstrated better memory for images with emotional significance.
Dominique de Quervain and colleagues showed emotionally neutral, positive or negative pictures to healthy Swiss subjects. People with the gene variant, which occurs in 30% of Caucasians and 12% of African-Americans, were substantially more likely to remember both positive and negative pictures than people with other forms of the gene. Memory for emotionally neutral pictures did not differ, and both groups rated the emotional pictures as equally arousing. Among another population of Rwandan refugees, emotional memories from the war were more persistent in people with this genetic variant, although the diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder was not related to genotype.
Dominique de Quervain (University of Zurich, Switzerland)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature Neuroscience press release.
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