from the urls-we-dig-up dept
The movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is based on a fictional technology that allows people to selectively forget events in their life that they don’t want to remember. While that whole movie was dedicated to erasing memories, memory loss actually isn’t an uncommon plot device. For example, Men In Black had “neuralyzers” that zapped away a person’s memory, and the main character in Memento suffered from a complete loss of his short-term memory. (And don’t forget all the soap operas that use amnesia in various convenient situations.) In reality, it’s much harder to induce forgetfulness on demand, but some research could make it easier to do so in the future. Here are a few studies you might want to remember — and later forget.
- Xenon gas is already used medically for anesthesia and diagnostic imaging, but it might some day be useful for erasing unwanted memories. So far, though, only mice have been dosed with a low concentration of xenon to successfully block some receptors involved in memory formation. [url]
- Selectively inhibiting memories for drug-addicted mice seems to erase drug-related memories and keep other remembrances intact. In one study, mice still remembered food rewards and foot shocks, but they didn’t remember cues related to methamphetamine dosages. [url]
- Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has been getting popular for tinkering with all kinds of brain functions (or disorders), and it has been shown to enhance memory in healthy people. The effects of TMS haven’t yet been extensively studied (especially on healthy people), but it could be useful for understanding the mechanisms of memory — and forgetting. [url]
If you’d like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.