Scientists find drug to banish bad memories
Researchers have found they can use drugs to wipe away single, specific memories while leaving other memories intact. By injecting an amnesia drug at the right time, when a subject was recalling a particular thought, neuro-scientists discovered they could disrupt the way the memory is stored and even make it disappear.
Prof Karim Nader, of McGill University, said: "When you remember old memories they can become 'unstored' and then have to be 'restored'.
"As the memory is getting restored, we gave patients a drug that turns down the emotional part of the memory. It left the conscious part of the memory intact, so they could still remember all the details but without being overwhelmed by the memory."
The research suggests memories can be manipulated because they act as if made from glass, existing in a molten state as they are being created, before turning solid. When the memory is recalled, however, it becomes molten again and so can be altered before it once more resets.
The drug used by the scientists is thought to disrupt the biochemical pathways that allow the memory to "harden" after it is recalled.
Image: Ndemi / Flickr
Tags: Drug | Memory | Medicine