Everything you need to know about the research…
Scientists believe they have discovered a way to get rid of painful memories from the mind, this would be able to help addicts dealing with drug abuse and would also help with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Fear-based memories in mice were successfully activated and erased by researchers in Canada.
Although this outcome could have many practical uses in helping with trauma, the scientist behind the technique has said it comes with “huge” ethical complications.
During the trials, certain neurons were genetically removed, this is so that specific memories could be removed without affecting other ones.
Researchers said that the tests on the mice showed that cocaine addiction could be overcome by getting rid of emotional memories related with the drug.
Dr Sheena Josselyn, associate professor in the Department of Physiology at the University of Toronto, said: “Our findings suggest that one day it could be possible to treat people with PTSD by erasing these traumatic memories. In these people, the memories are intrusive and disrupt their lives.”
“However, 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.”
“We all learn from our mistakes. If we erase the memory of our mistakes, what is to keep us from repeating them?”