Scientists in Canada have taken the idea of positive thinking to a whole new level – by discovering a way to target and erase bad memories from our brains.The findings could be used to treat post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and addiction, but researchers have warned of “huge ethical implications.”Researchers at the University of Toronto found a way to target and erase fear-based memories in mice, after discovering the neurons which are used to form these types of memories in the brain.“Although there are millions of neurons in the brain, only a few of them are necessary to form a fear or threat memory,” Dr Sheena Josselyn, an associate professor in the Department of Physiology, explained.Researchers were able to ‘flag up’ the neurons creating the bad memories by overproducing a certain brain protein in mice, and then targeted and genetically removed those neurons to erase the bad memories, while keeping others.
“Our findings suggest that one day it could be possible to treat people with PTSD by erasing these traumatic memories,” Josselyn explained at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting in Boston.
“In these people, the memories are intrusive and disrupt their lives.
“Our goal would be to find a pharmacological way to target and inactivate just these neurons, like a heat seeking missile-like drug,” she added.
According to the research, scientists were able to remove cocaine addiction in the mice by removing the memories associated with the drug.
The research has similarities to the Hollywood movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which saw a couple erase their relationship memories after breaking up.
Although the idea of a life without bad memories can seem appealing, the researcher warned of the “huge ethical implications and considerations” involved in erasing memories.
“There could be potential downsides, especially when applied to people who would like to get rid of a ‘bad memory,’ such as a messy break-up,” Josselyn explained.
“We all learn from our mistakes. If we erase the memory of our mistakes, what is to keep us from repeating them?”
While the research shows erasing memories is possible, “our society needs to develop ethical policies around the potential use of this,” Josselyn stressed. “Just because something is possible does not mean it should be done.”
This story was originally published by RT.com
l View Hide Sources:
Seeking addiction treatment can feel overwhelming. We know the struggle, which is why we're uniquely qualified to help.
Your call is confidential, and there's no pressure to commit to treatment until you're ready. As a voluntary facility, we're here to help you heal -- on your terms. Our sole focus is getting you back to the healthy, sober life you deserve, and we are ready and waiting to answer your questions or concerns 24/7.
l Family & Friends
l Dual Diagnosis
l Inpatient Treatment
You don’t have to go through detox and rehab treatment alone. Get the help you need today. Speak with a treatment specialist now about the struggles you are facing.
Enter your phone number below
You will receive a call from a treatment specialist
Calls to our general helpline will be answered by Freedom From Addiction an online addiction resource owned and operated by Desert Rose FL, LLC (Desert Rose Recovery) a Behavioral Health Options company (BHO). Information provided is for internal use only and not shared or distributed in any manner.
Our Treatment Specialist work solely for BHO and will discuss whether BHO facilities are an option for you.
Our helpline is offered at no cost to you and with no obligation to enter into treatment. BHO does not provide referrals nor receive any commission or other fee that is dependent upon which treatment a visitor may ultimately choose.
Our mission is to improve access to substance use disorder and dual-diagnosis treatment by making easier to ask for help and get reliable resources faster. FFA is saving lives by improving universal access for addiction treatment help.
Technology to educate and empower society on a path to recovery. One addict at a time.
© Copyright 2019. All Rights Reserved, Freedom From Addiction