Remember to Remember –
October 5, 2018 – Miller tells Addiction Professional, a sister brand of Psych Congress Network, that among the many potential triggers to relapse to drug use, memories associated with use are particularly potent. “The brain is really good at maintaining salient memories,” she says. Efforts of her research team, therefore, have sought to identify ways to disrupt those memories while leaving other brain processes intact, thus not interfering with other memories. Five years ago, Miller and her colleagues discovered a unique aspect of memory storage as it applies to methamphetamine and amphetamine. The protein actin, which strengthens the connections between neurons that contribute to memory storage, is known to stabilize in most areas of the brain after memories are stored. But the research team found that actin remained active in areas of the brain’s amygdala region where meth memories are stored. This finding led the researchers to speculate that a therapy could target actin and disrupt memory associated with methamphetamine use. However, because actin is highly prevalent throughout the body, a compound acting on it could also produce numerous unwanted effects. Miller’s team discovered that another protein, myosin, showed the same results as actin when targeted.