Scientists May Be Able To Delete Bad Memories Soon
The process of erasing bad memories of past traumatic events may seem like a possibility. Researchers from the University of Toronto have pinpointed fear neurons in lab micethat could lead to the deletion of the mind's troubles. The same technique could be used in humans, but could come with ethical implications.
The procedure may help PTSD sufferers and drug addicts to help them quit. It has a similar concept to the fictional movie "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," where a couple erased each other from their memories.
Engrams are neurons in the brain that are stimulated each time a memory is formed. Of the millions of neurons in the brain, few neurons are necessary to enter the engram of the fearful memory.
i4u reported only a couple of neurons form fear memories, this is ensured by a surplus of brain proteins. By genetically targeting these neurons, the traumatic memories can be deleted without damaging the other good and necessary memories.
According to Daily Mail researchers found that even cocaine addiction in mice could be erased instantly through destroying the emotional residues fixated on the experience of taking the drug. Dr Sheena Josselyn, lead author said at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston "Our findings suggest that one day it could be possible to treat people with PTSD by erasing these traumatic memories."
The new findings pave a great possibility of this treatment for PTSD patients in the future. The only hindrance is that if the bad memories are erased, our learning experiences go along with them. The process of memory deletion is extremely delicate work. Patients may be prone to repeating mistakes over and over again.
Josselyn added, "There are huge ethical implications and considerations. Just because something is possible, does not mean that it should be done. " She strongly suggests that ethical policies need to be developed around the potential use of memory deletion.