UCL Psychology and Language Sciences


New research by Sunjeev Kamboj and Ravi Das suggests that nitrous oxide could disrupt formation of traumatic memories

7 March 2016

New research undertaken by Dr Sunjeev Kamboj and Dr Ravi Das, both Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, suggests that nitrous oxide administered after a traumatic event may help to prevent distressing memories from ‘sticking’ in the brain.

The study, published in Psychological Medicine, found that people who inhaled nitrous oxide after watching traumatic film clips experienced a much faster decline in distressing memories than those who breathed normal air. The number of distressing memories reported by the volunteers went down exponentially over the days following the film for those given nitrous oxide, while the decline was more gradual and linear for those given air.