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Scientists Erase Memories in Rats

Scientists Erase Memories in RatsIf you have a hard time remembering where you left your keys, you're certainly not alone. On the other hand, remembering things like the names of your parents or your favorite flavor of ice cream should be much easier. That's because long term memory, memories of things that you learned long ago, has generally been considered to be more or less permanent. However, researchers at Israel's Weizmann Institute of Science have recently managed to dispel that myth, making rats forget long-term memories.

In the experiment, rats were taught that a given substance tasted bad. They learned they didn't like it, and afterwards they avoided the substance completely. However, a month later (the equivalent of a year to humans) the rats were injected with a drug to block a specific protein inside the taste cortex. Once injected, they immediately forgot that the substance was undesirable to them and they tried it again.

The scientists' theory is that an enzyme in the brain known as PKMzeta works as so-called "memory machine," keeping long-term memories alive similarly to how a backup battery in your devices keeps things like internal clocks running even if the power is cut out. The drug they created blocks this process, resulting in memories being erased.

Whether this drug can be expanded to work on things other than tastes remains to be seen, but if all goes well it might not be long before you can take a pill that will make you forget all about that Flock of Seagulls hairstyle you were trying to pull off in the '80s. At the very least, this could make every visit to the ice cream parlor a refreshing and new experience.

From Press Esc

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Tags: breaking+news, Memory, top

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