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Scientists Erase Memories in Mice

Scientists Erase Memories in MiceMovies have long had an obsession with erasing memories. 'Total Recall,' 'Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind,' and 'Men in Black' all feature the intentional manipulation of memory as a central plot point. Until now, the concept of selectively erasing memories has dwelt in the realm of science fiction, but scientists believe they have made a major step towards making such a procedure a reality.

American and Chinese researchers have identified a protein, present in both mice and humans, called CaMKII that they refer to as the "memory molecule." CaMKII is key to the development and retention of information, and researchers have developed a method to turn its production on and off in mice.

Scientists exposed mice to potentially traumatic stimuli, such as light shocks to the paws. When the production of CaMKII was overproduced (during an attempt to force the mice to retrieve the memory of the stimuli), it appeared that the memory was not only blocked, but completely erased, without affecting other memories.

Of course, how exactly they can tell if it affected other memories isn't clear. They could simply mean that the mice still remembered how to walk and breathe, which isn't really terribly impressive. The research is interesting, but we'll keep our memories, even the painful ones, thank you very much. [From: Yahoo! News]

Tags: memory, mice, sci fi, sci-fi, science, science fiction, ScienceFiction, SciFi