Print 34 comment(s) - last by thurston.. on Nov 4 at 8:57 PM

"Happy thoughts"... coming soon to a store near you.

Just like in the movie "Total Recall" or "Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind", erasing bad memories could be a rendered service soon. Scientists at John Hopkins University, can now erase traumatic memories from the brains of mice.  They are looking to develop a drug that will also work on humans.

Researchers found that by removing a particular protein in a specific part of the brain, they could permanently delete traumatic memories on a molecular level.

The team, led by Richard L. Huganir, Ph.D., professor and director of neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and postdoctoral fellow Roger Clem, used loud, sudden noises to instill fear in their test subjects. Huganir and Clem found that the amygdala, the part of the brain "known to underlay so-called fear conditioning", showed the most activity during the experiment.

“When a traumatic event occurs, it creates a fearful memory that can last a lifetime and have a debilitating effect on a person’s life,” said Huganir. “Our finding describing these molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in that process raises the possibility of manipulating those mechanisms with drugs to enhance behavioral therapy for such conditions as post-traumatic stress disorder.”

Taking it a step further, the scientists examined the proteins in the nerve cells and found increases in the amount of proteins-- calcium-permeable AMPARs.

According to Huganir, he and Clem discovered that the proteins were uniquely unstable and removable from the nerve cells. Huganir believes that by removing the proteins and weakening the connections in the brain created by the trauma, they can erase the memory itself.

“This may sound like science fiction, the ability to selectively erase memories,” says Huganir. “But this may one day be applicable for the treatment of debilitating fearful memories in people, such as post-traumatic stress syndrome associated with war, rape or other traumatic events.”

A report, written by the duo and published in the October 28 edition of the Science Express, can be found here.

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uh oh
By Breathless on 11/3/2010 9:56:22 AM , Rating: 2
Me thinks this is a reaaaaallly bad idea....

RE: uh oh
By R3T4rd on 11/3/2010 10:09:35 AM , Rating: 2
Yup, eventually all the erasing could lead to people with split personalities. Though I wonder how fun that would be to have your wife during the day...and something else during the night?

Or imagine if the liberals get thier way with this because they believe in second chances and at the same time make prisons less cluttered. Killers, rapists, and bad people could be re-inserted into society by erasing all thier bad memories. Reteaching them good things in life. Boy I can see this happening.

Okay...enough coffee for me.

RE: uh oh
By Chapbass on 11/3/2010 10:37:50 AM , Rating: 3
Babylon 5 "Death by personality" anyone? Black Rose Killer? its all happening!

RE: uh oh
By kattanna on 11/3/2010 11:01:48 AM , Rating: 2
that was an interesting take on a "death penalty"

man i miss that show

RE: uh oh
By Akrovah on 11/3/2010 4:16:33 PM , Rating: 2
First thing I thought of too when I read that post.

RE: uh oh
By protosv on 11/3/2010 10:42:53 AM , Rating: 2
Have any of these researchers seen A Clockwork Orange? We all know how well that turned out....

RE: uh oh
By Solandri on 11/3/2010 3:50:35 PM , Rating: 4
I keep trying to type up why this is such a bad idea, but I seem to become nauseous every time I think too hard about it.

RE: uh oh
By Zingam on 11/3/2010 3:34:07 PM , Rating: 2
Stem cell research illegal, cloning illegal...

...but this shit is legal??? WTF!!!

What comes next? Brainless zombie armies of suicide bombers????

RE: uh oh
By ARoyalF on 11/3/2010 8:52:01 PM , Rating: 3
Too late! Suicide bombers already are....

RE: uh oh
By IntelUser2000 on 11/3/2010 10:10:15 AM , Rating: 4
I agree. Not all bad experiences turn out to have negative impact, and some even benefit from it. I guess there's a merit using to those "hopeless" criminal minds that were molded from their early childhood memories, but even then I'm not so sure. Most people can turn those memories productively by learning from them. Select few cannot of course.

A corrupt government like China and North Korea abusing this tech to make people forget about their hideous past(and now) is one sci-fi terror, and there's also a more real possibility of consequences on messing with part of us that we don't really understand.

RE: uh oh
By superPC on 11/3/2010 10:59:34 AM , Rating: 2
agree. just look at kirk when he got split in two ( ) and remind ourself that removing part of ourself is never a good thing...

RE: uh oh
By Akrovah on 11/3/2010 4:19:04 PM , Rating: 2
I was thinking of a Kirk reference as well, but I went to Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and his speech about all of our experiences, good and bad, making us the people we are, "I don't want my pain taken away. I NEED my pain!"

RE: uh oh
By 440sixpack on 11/3/2010 12:33:26 PM , Rating: 2
Makes you think of the old quote "those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it". :-) Maybe erasing all bad memories might not be a great idea.

Follow up.
By deanx0r on 11/3/2010 9:49:22 AM , Rating: 2
It would be nice if Dailytech can make a few follow ups for some of the promising technology PR articles that have been posted here. We never seem to hear of them ever gain.

RE: Follow up.
By Dr of crap on 11/3/2010 10:01:53 AM , Rating: 2
I think we don't hear about them again because they are just that - promising.
They can't get past the experimental stage and grow into something useful.

RE: Follow up.
By Strunf on 11/4/2010 8:40:49 AM , Rating: 2
That or it takes more than just a few years to go from the experimental state to production.

RE: Follow up.
By kingius on 11/4/2010 10:23:18 AM , Rating: 2
Or perhaps we do, and we just don't remember it...

RE: Follow up.
By Dr of crap on 11/3/2010 10:03:37 AM , Rating: 2
I think we don't hear about them again because they are just that - promising.
They can't get past the experimental stage and grow into something useful.

RE: Follow up.
By AntiM on 11/3/2010 11:23:28 AM , Rating: 2
It would be nice if Dailytech can make a few follow ups for some of the promising technology PR articles that have been posted here. We never seem to hear of them ever gain.

Maybe they're being erased from DT's memories.

Not sure but...
By solarrocker on 11/3/2010 9:54:31 AM , Rating: 4
Isn't erasing bad memories kinda like erasing who you are. Mean memories, experiences and the consequences of those are what define us, in part, as a person. Past experience helps us making choices in day to day life.

I can understand that you want to forget you where raped, or the traumatic experience of for instance being locked in a house on fire. But these would be then maybe recent events, would this drug also take away older pain full experiences that happened during for instance childhood?
If so would the person then change in how their decision making process works?

I don't know, the drug could be used to help people, but it might have many side effects.

RE: Not sure but...
By ClownPuncher on 11/3/2010 3:27:43 PM , Rating: 3
You are supposed to learn from those painful experiences, unfortunately even rape and bad childhood memories. Forgetting what happened does not make it so it never did.

This is such a bad idea I don't even know where to begin.

RE: Not sure but...
By thurston on 11/4/2010 8:57:55 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe if you were raped as a child you would have a little more sympathy for someone who wants to forget it.

By pequin06 on 11/3/2010 11:17:38 AM , Rating: 2
They're called bars.

By dgingeri on 11/3/2010 1:14:02 PM , Rating: 2
didn't you hear? Alcohol is a deadlier drug than heroine or crack. we can't use bars for this kind of stuff anymore.

By ClownPuncher on 11/3/2010 3:24:44 PM , Rating: 2
Female heros are dangerous now?

By JakLee on 11/3/2010 5:33:51 PM , Rating: 2
They are if they wear skimpy enough clothes & do lots of fast moving!

I have to say ...
By trajan on 11/3/2010 10:18:21 AM , Rating: 5
That this sounds like total crap to me. I'm not a research neurologist but I do have degrees in biology and biochemistry. It sounds to me like these researchers are blowing their work way the @#@! out of proportion.

They conditioned mice to feel fear in response to a specific stimuli. Then they messed up the neurochemistry of one of the brain's most important fear-involved regions, and noticed that the mice don't seem to be afraid of the stimulus any more. Ok. How does this have anything to do with memory erasure?

That's like saying "We took this poor war veteran suffering from PTSD, and then we lobotomized him. Guess what? No more PTSD! He doesn't even remember the war! He also has had massive personality changes, has difficulty experiencing fear of any kind, and babbles gibberish all the time, even while sleeping. SUCCESS! We can eliminate specific traumatic memories."

RE: I have to say ...
By SlyNine on 11/3/2010 1:08:57 PM , Rating: 2
Besides, wouldn't the brain need to be rewired to reverse the effects of a traumatic event. Just because you cannot remember it doesn't mean it isn't effecting your life.

Say we erased bad memories that caused a guy to become a killer. His brain is still wired the same way as a result, now he just wouldn't know why he feels the way he does.

Jim Carey movie
By dgingeri on 11/3/2010 10:29:28 AM , Rating: 2
This is just like "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind". It was a pretty good movie, but not great.

now we get to do it for real.

Erasing bad memories
By Non Compos Mentis on 11/3/2010 11:50:44 AM , Rating: 2
This is not news. This research was reported on in greater detail in the January 2008 issue of Popular Science magazine.
I read the Daily Tech article and see no new information.
The title of the article in Popular Science is PAGING DR. FEAR.

Groundhog mice
By smilingcrow on 11/3/2010 2:02:13 PM , Rating: 2
I can imagine vets in the future performing this procedure on mice who want to rid themselves of the memories of having being experimented on. Then they’d have to go back and have a second procedure to rid them of the memories of the first one; repeat ad nauseam.

Not New
By mackeral on 11/3/2010 5:52:29 PM , Rating: 2
I already have a solution to forget things and it is called alcohol.

Start here
By YashBudini on 11/4/2010 2:08:08 AM , Rating: 2
It would be easier to just erase Wall St bankers, then the confidence in the economy would return.

Yeah they may erase the memory, but my posterior orifice would still feel reamed.

Targetted selected memory erasing
By kingius on 11/4/2010 10:21:17 AM , Rating: 2
So now that we know that targeted memory erasing /is actually possible/ will anybody be apologising for ridiculing those who claim to have suffered its effects, I wonder?.... I'm not holding my breath.

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