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Scientists Make 'Progress' in Erasing Memories

Scientists Make Scientists just can't leave memories alone. Since first discovering the chemical PKMzeta in the brain, researchers have been playing with erasing the minds of rats in laboratories. By injecting mice with a drug called ZIP, scientists are able to block the activity of PKMzeta, which is believed to be essential for the retention and recollection of memories.

Original tests worked only on erasing the memory of tastes, but researchers at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, the New York Times reports, have replicated the tests and, in so doing, successfully erased a broader set of memories. Scientists taught mice to navigate a small chamber by avoiding areas on the floor that would administer small electric shocks to their feet. The mice remembered the locations of the shock pads and avoided them, even a month later when placed back into the chamber. But, after having ZIP injected into their brains, the mice forgot how to correctly navigate the chamber, got shocked, and had to relearn.

Scientists see potential applications of the technology in treating addiction and severe phobias that might stem from a traumatic event. They also believe that this may help in the development of a drug that could improve memory and help combat diseases like Alzheimer's.

For our part, we're still a little skeptical (and a little afraid) of the implications of being able to pick and choose what memories you keep. [From: New York Times]

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Tags: future tech, FutureTech, health, medicine, memory, research, science, top



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