Monday, 14 Sep, 2009 Health & Fitness

Latest Invention: Drug to Help Wipe Bad Memories


Together with his team, Andreas Luthi, of the Friedrich Miescher Institute in Switzerland, is close to developing a drug able to clean one's head from unpleasant memories. After successful test performed on animals, scientists look forward to try their latest invention on humans and if everything goes well, the pill they created could selectively wipe bad memories in humans.

In their latest study, the team of researchers tested on animals a drug that has the ability to dissolve a barrier around the amygdala, which is the almond-shaped organ found in the brain that has the main role of storing memory of emotional reactions. After the treatment, animals stopped being afraid of sounds that were associated with electric shock, which, according to scientists, means that their memories had been erased.

Researchers consider that their latest invention could work on humans, due to the fact that just like animals people have amygdala in the brain. The idea of erasing bad memories sounds attractive, but the latest invention also raised a number of medical concerns as well as several ethical questions. Some claims that there is a potential danger of the drug misuse, others are concerned about the drug wiping some good memories. You can find more interesting information about memory here at - please check the links at the bottom of the story.

According to Joseph LeDoux, professor of neuroscience at New York University, our brain had similar sheaths and the new drug could help people 'overwrite' bad memories with happier ones, reports Daily Mail. In addition, the drug treatment could also prove to be effective in helping soldiers who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or those who have severe phobias associated with unpleasant memories.

Public mockery is the main memory that the majority of people would like to erase, says Ashok Hegde, a neurologist at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. "Public humiliation is a constant source of lingering memories," she mentioned. However, Dr Hegde considers that a lot of bad memories are forgotten naturally after a while.

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