Category: Translational

Symposium

Symposium 126 - Novel Strategies for Preventing Relapse for Anxiety-Related Disorders: Advances From Translational Research

Sunday, November 19
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Location: Sapphire Ballroom I & J, Level 4, Sapphire Level

Keywords: Translational Research | Fear | Anxiety
Presentation Type: Symposium

During extinction, new memories of safety are formed that compete with pre-existing fear memories. Under certain circumstances, pre-existing fear memories may dominate over these newly-formed safety memories, leading to return of fear. Clinically, this is thought to explain relapse after exposure therapy. For example, in a novel context, a patient may find that safety memories formed during therapy may be less readily accessible than pre-existing fear memories, and anxiety may return. Cutting-edge research targeting the reconsolidation of fear memories aims to alter the pre-existing fear memories that underlie anxiety and traumatic stress disorders directly, in order to prevent the return of fear. When an old memory is reactivated, it goes through a period of instability and needs to be reconsolidated. During this reconsolidation period, a memory is susceptible to interference from drugs or behavioral interventions. Reconsolidation interference via behavioral means was first applied to fear memories in animals by Monfils et al. (2009). In a fear conditioning study, Monfils et al. (2009) demonstrated that by simply reactivating a fear memory ten minutes prior to extinction (post-retrieval extinction), the return of fear was prevented. This research was replicated in animals and later in humans, with overall significant positive effects as indicated by meta-analysis (Kredlow et al., 2016). Currently, efforts are underway to translate these strategies to the clinic. The current symposium will present exciting translational research on strategies to interfere with the reconsolidation of fear memories. We are joined by leaders in this area who will present on data representing the full translational research spectrum - from the animal laboratory to clinical applications. First, Dr. Lorenzo Díaz-Mataix and Dr. Marie Monfils will present data from animal studies exploring novel strategies to interfere with fear memory reconsolidation. Next, Elizabeth Marks will present a fear conditioning study conducted in healthy individuals and patients exploring post-retrieval extinction to prevent intrusions. Next, M. Alexandra Kredlow will present a fear conditioning study conducted in anxious individuals, exploring post-retrieval extinction to prevent the reinstatement of fear. Finally, Dr. Michael Telch will present one of the first clinical applications of post-retrieval extinction to patients with phobias. Dr. Michael Otto will discuss this research with regards to developing more potent and less context-dependent treatments.

Learning Objectives:

Elizabeth H. Marks

Graduate Student
University of Washington

Presentation(s):

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M. Alexandra Kredlow

Graduate Student
Boston University

Presentation(s):

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Michael W. Otto

Professor
Boston University

Michael W. Otto, PhD, is Professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Boston University. He has had a major career focus on developing and validating new psychosocial treatments for anxiety, mood, psychotic, and substance use disorders, with a particular focus on treatment refractory populations. This includes a translational research agenda investigating brain-behavior relationships in therapeutic learning. His focus on hard-to-treat conditions and principles underlying behavior-change failures led him to an additional focus on health behavior promotion, including investigations of addictive behaviors, medication adherence, sleep, and exercise. Across these health behaviors, he has been concerned with cognitive, attention, and affective factors that derail adaptive behaviors, and the factors that can rescue these processes. He also investigates exercise as an intervention for affective and addictive disorders, as well as for cognitive enhancement. He has over 400 publications spanning his research interests, and was identified as a “top producer” in the clinical empirical literature, and an ISI Highly Cited Researcher. He is a Past President of the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, and is currently President of Division 12 of the American Psychological Association.

Presentation(s):

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Lorenzo Díaz-Mataix

Research Assistant Professor
New York University

Presentation(s):

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Marie H. Monfils

Associate Professor
University of Texas at Austin

Presentation(s):

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Elizabeth H. Marks

Graduate Student
University of Washington

Presentation(s):

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M. Alexandra Kredlow

Graduate Student
Boston University

Presentation(s):

Send Email for M. Alexandra Kredlow

Michael J. Telch

Professor
University of Texas at Austin

Presentation(s):

Send Email for Michael Telch


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