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In Search of Lost Memories

 by Bennett Gordon


Tags: Science and Technology, memory, PTSD, The Scientist, Reason,

Memory of a BeachMemory is not a fixed, static impression left on a person’s brain. Researchers have found that “the very act of remembering could change the memory,” Joseph LeDoux writes for the Scientist. Using that knowledge, his colleagues are working on ways that specific memories could be simply erased from people’s brains. LeDoux asks, “Could traumatic memories be dampened or erased simply by remembering?”

The research is already leading to experiments in lessening post traumatic stress disorder using drugs, as reported on Utne.com. Many have worry about the ethical implications of messing with people’s memories, but according to LeDoux, patients who suffer from reactions to memories they can’t control have said that they would rather risk losing a memory or two if it meant being able to remove the debilitating ones.”

People wouldn’t need to stop at bad memories, Greg Beato writes for Reason. Erasing the good memories from people’s brains could make life a lot more enjoyable. “Imagine falling in love for the first time, again and again and again,” Beato writes, “hearing your all-time favorite album with completely fresh ears; rediscovering the virtues of martinis.” People would no longer get bored with their jobs, their spouses, their music collections, and could continue to experience life as if for the first time.

Sources: The Scientist (subscription required), Reason

Image by Sergio Tudela, licensed under Creative Commons.

blk_2
8/3/2010 12:08:53 AM

From the perspective of an adult having survived a childhood involving multiple types of abuse from Bio-Parents, in a confined and alienated environment, having only sporadic flashes of approx 20 pictorial types of memories that still after 33 years of counseling bring tears, paralyzing fear and self-loathing, with inappropriate; yet, immobilizing feelings of distrust, isolation, hopelessness, self-inflicted injury, and paranoia...I would have no memories except for 3 or so that I remember as happier times; and, as it is, I crave to know more about myself and my history; so, is it possible to bring to surface forgotten memories, then erase the bad memories? Can you create good memories? I would also like to know if this "erasure of memories" is currently in practice; and, where I can get information providing me with the names of local practitioners. Any other recommended treatment options for me to explore would be greatly appreciated. Up to now my diagnosis has been situational depression, depression/anxiety disorder, ocd, bipolar, and PTSD. It is now believed that the other diagnosis are extensions from the originating PTSD.