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For immediate release February 12, 2015
Contact: Stuart Moss
Nathan Kline Institute
845-398-6576
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Childhood Abuse May Be Paradoxically Protective in Adulthood

February 12, 2015

A group led by NKI investigator Regina Sullivan, PhD, used an animal model to show that reminders of early life abuse can actually help to reduce depression-like behaviors in adulthood. According to the authors, "Our findings suggest that infant trauma cues share properties with antidepressants and safety signals and provide insight into mechanisms by which infant trauma memories remain powerful throughout life." The results were published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers also analyzed this phenomenon at the molecular level, demonstrating that the effect of the trauma cues are directly related to the levels of serotonin and corticosterone in the amygdala. To read more about this research, see the coverage in Medical News Today.

Dr. Sullivan is a member of the Emotional Brain Institute, a joint initiative of New York University and the Nathan S. Kline Institute that aims to increase our understanding of emotions and their impact on mind and behavior.


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Located on the grounds of Rockland Psychiatric Center, The Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research is a facility of the New York State Office of Mental Health that is nationally and internationally renowned for its pioneering contributions to psychiatric research.

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