Reconsolidation of human memory: brain mechanisms and clinical relevance.

TitleReconsolidation of human memory: brain mechanisms and clinical relevance.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsSchwabe L, Nader K, Pruessner JC
JournalBiol Psychiatry
Date Published2014 Aug 15
KeywordsAnimals, Brain, Fear, Humans, Memory

The processes of memory formation and storage are complex and highly dynamic. Once memories are consolidated, they are not necessarily fixed but can be changed long after storage. In particular, seemingly stable memories may re-enter an unstable state when they are retrieved, from which they must be re-stabilized during a process known as reconsolidation. During reconsolidation, memories are susceptible to modifications again, thus providing an opportunity to update seemingly stable memories. While initial demonstrations of memory reconsolidation came mainly from animal studies, evidence for reconsolidation in humans is now accumulating as well. Here, we review recent advances in our understanding of human memory reconsolidation. After a summary of findings on the reconsolidation of human fear and episodic memory, we focus particularly on recent neuroimaging data that provide first insights into how reconsolidation processes are implemented in the human brain. Finally, we discuss the implications of memory modifications during reconsolidation for the treatment of mental disorders such as posttraumatic stress disorder and drug addiction.

Alternate JournalBiol. Psychiatry
PubMed ID24755493