Oei NY, Tollenaar MS, Elzinga BM, Spinhoven P. Propranolol reduces emotional distraction in working memory: a partial mediating role of propranolol-induced cortisol increases? Neurobiol Learn Mem 93: 388-395

Leiden University-Institute of Psychology, Leiden, The Netherlands.
Neurobiology of Learning and Memory (Impact Factor: 3.65). 12/2009; 93(3):388-95. DOI: 10.1016/j.nlm.2009.12.005
Source: PubMed


Noradrenalin modulates prefrontal function, such as working memory (WM), and is associated with enhanced distractibility, and enhanced memory for emotional events and stimuli. The beta-blocker propranolol has been shown to reduce memory for emotional stimuli. Herein we describe investigations aimed at assessing whether the administration of propranolol would reduce the interference by emotional distractions during WM performance. In a between-subjects design, 48 young, healthy men received 80 mg propranolol (n=25) or placebo (n=23), before performing an "emotional Sternberg task" with neutral and negatively arousing distracters. Compared to placebo, propranolol impaired WM at low load, however, it also reduced the interference by emotional distracters at high load. Furthermore, an explorative moderated-mediation analysis indicated that the observed propranolol effects on emotional distraction were partially mediated by cortisol. In future non-clinical and clinical memory studies using propranolol administration, cortisol elevations should be monitored to further investigate the potential mediating role of cortisol.

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    • "This result suggests a shift from cognitive/integrative processing to emotion/motor-sensory processing secondary to priming in the context of chronic relational stress. Finally, in this study, participants with conversion disorders performed worse than controls on the subset of cognitive tasks that are known to engage the cognitive capacities and functions of the PFC, suggesting that the PFC's resources were either compromised overall via upregulation of the stress system and high levels of stress hormones (Oei et al., 2010) or being preferentially allocated to emotion/motor-sensory processing. The decreased working memory capacity on multiple subtests of the Digit Span Test and the difficulties in remembering the source of the information on the Memory Recall/Verbal List-Learning Test (as evidenced by the inclusion of words from the wrong list) showed a clear deficit in the cognitive component of PFC function. "
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    ABSTRACT: To assess cognitive function in children and adolescents presenting with acute conversion symptoms. Fifty-seven participants aged 8.5-18 years (41 girls and 16 boys) with conversion symptoms and 57 age- and gender-matched healthy controls completed the IntegNeuro neurocognitive battery, an estimate of intelligence, and self-report measures of subjective emotional distress. Participants with conversion symptoms showed poorer performance within attention, executive function, and memory domains. Poorer performance was reflected in more errors on specific tests: Switching of Attention (t(79) = 2.17, p = .03); Verbal Interference (t(72) = 2.64, p = .01); Go/No-Go (t(73) = 2.20, p = .03); Memory Recall and Verbal Learning (interference errors for memory recall; t(61) = 3.13, p < .01); and short-delay recall (t(75) = 2.05, p < .01) and long-delay recall (t(62) = 2.24, p = .03). Poorer performance was also reflected in a reduced span of working memory on the Digit Span Test for both forward recall span (t(103) = -3.64, p < .001) and backward recall span (t(100) = -3.22, p < .01). There was no difference between participants and controls on IQ estimate (t(94) = -589, p = .56), and there was no correlation between cognitive function and perceived distress. Children and adolescents with acute conversion symptoms have a reduced capacity to manipulate and retain information, to block interfering information, and to inhibit responses, all of which are required for effective attention, executive function, and memory.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · Journal of Neuropsychology
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    • "Clonidine and propranolol are lipophilic, penetrate the blood brain barrier, and are used to address the paroxysmal agitation associated with TBI [11,12]. Both drugs have variable effects on memory, emotion, and cognition [36-39]; however, these effects are not defined after TBI. Although the above European data have shown stable cerebral perfusion pressure when using these agents, the early empiric use of these anti-hypertensive agents is considered innovative within North American TBI environments, where feasibility and safety are not clear. "
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    Full-text · Article · Sep 2012 · Trials
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