Scientists Discover Way to Erase Memories

Scientists Discover Way to Erase Memories

In the future, all it will take to forgot about a set of traumatic or painful memories is a trip to your doctor.

A group of researchers at Stanford University have figured out a way to erase bad memories from the minds of mice while they're asleep. The team is working to ending Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in humans.

As it stands now, people suffering from PSTD have to recall the traumatic event several times until they become comfortable enough with the memory to go on with their lives. The researchers have figured out a way to replicate that method while mice are sleeping.

After getting the mice to fear the smell of jasmine by shocking them each time they got near the scent, the scientists tried to reverse their mental trauma. Half the mice exposed to jasmine in their sleep without being getting shocked, while the other half was treated with the new method.

From Nature:

"In other mice, Rolls administered a drug to block protein production in the basolateral amygdala - a brain area associated with storage of fearful memories - just before the animals went to sleep. The researchers then exposed the sleeping mice to repeated odor puffs alone. Upon waking, these animals showed reduced fear responses to amyl acetate [the smell chemical] that carried over even into new environments."

Sounds great, right? Unfortunately, the method and drug hasn't yet been made safe for humans.

[Nature via Gizmodo]

Tags: science
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