You soon may be able to erase your bad memories
How these scientists are working to figure out a way to wipe them from your mind.
Ever had a terrible memory you wished you could forget? Right now, only characters in stories like "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" can do it ... but that may change soon. Scientists from Israel’s Weizmann Institute have figured out how to erase scary memories in mice.
One part of the brain deals with emotion, and another stores memories. When these two parts communicate, the brain turns an emotional experience – like something especially pleasurable or scary – into a long-term memory.
The brain is really good at doing this. Too good, sometimes. Traumatizing events can be tough to get over.
The scientists used a loud sound to traumatize some mice (lab mouse life is rough). They then disrupted the connection between the emotion and memory-storing parts of the mouse brains. All of a sudden, mice that used to be afraid of that scary sound suddenly stopped freaking out when they heard it.
That's pretty amazing news. A whole lot of people – and probably even more lab mice – suffer from anxiety.
Dr. Ofer Yizhar, the experiment's lead researcher, has multiple degrees from Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv University and Stanford University in California. “One day, our findings may help develop better therapies targeting the connections between the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex, in order to alleviate the symptoms of fear and anxiety disorders," he explained.
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Related Topics: Animals