Erasing unwanted memories isn’t yet possible. However, Israeli scientists are now reporting that they have succeeded in erasing one type of memory in mice – fear.
This new technique may one day help extinguish traumatic memories in humans – for example, in people with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.
“The brain is good at creating new memories when these are associated with strong emotional experiences, such as intense pleasure or fear,” says Ofer Yizhar, senior researcher at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot.
“That’s why it’s easier to remember things you care about, be they good or bad; but it’s also the reason that memories of traumatic experiences are often extremely long-lasting, predisposing people to PTSD.”
In a study recently reported in Nature Neuroscience, the Israeli researchers report how they succeeded in shutting down a neuronal mechanism by which memories of fear are formed in the mouse brain. After the procedure, the mice …
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