Manipulating critical memory periods to treat psychiatry disorders

Sci Bull (Beijing). 2023 Oct 30;68(20):2477-2486. doi: 10.1016/j.scib.2023.08.050. Epub 2023 Aug 30.


The persistence of pathological memory is the basis of several psychiatric disorders. Memory retrieval induces "reconsolidation", a time interval during which the original memory becomes labile and destabilized. Time- and retrieval-dependent processes and memory reconsolidation are critical periods for memory interference. Modulating memory reconsolidation has received considerable research attention as a treatment protocol for several psychiatric conditions such as posttraumatic stress disorder, addiction, anxiety, and trauma-related disorders. This specific time window provides an opportunity for intervention regarding mental diseases. This article reviews the effect of modulating memory reconsolidation using behavioral-, brain stimulation-, and pharmacological-based interventions, which may help bridge the gap between intervention in laboratories and application in clinical practice. The potential advantages, limitations, challenges, and opportunities for memory reconsolidation manipulations were discussed.

Keywords: Memory reconsolidation; Neuromodulation; Propranolol; Psychiatric disorders; Retrieval-extinction; Time window.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety Disorders / therapy
  • Extinction, Psychological
  • Humans
  • Memory
  • Psychiatry*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic* / therapy