Cortisol has enhancing, rather than impairing effects on memory retrieval in PTSD
Wingenfeld K et al. – The present results suggest beneficial effects of acute cortisol elevations on hippocampal mediated memory processes in posttraumatic stress disorder.Methods
- In a placebo–controlled crossover study, 44 patients with PTSD and 65 healthy controls received either placebo or 10mg of hydrocortisone orally before memory testing.
- In addition to declarative memory retrieval (word list learning), the authors also tested autobiographical memory retrieval specificity.
- In both tasks opposing effects of cortisol on memory were observed when comparing patients with controls.
- In controls, cortisol had impairing effects on memory retrieval, while in PTSD patients cortisol had enhancing effects on memory retrieval in both memory domains.