Scientists have been using mice in a study for research about memory functions. The scientists have been working to find out if they can locate memories which resulted in fear. So far, the study has been successful in the mice but will not be carried out on humans yet as some people do not think this would be ethical.
To carry out this study on mice and collect the research, the scientists used an electric shock along with sound to create a memory which made the mice scared when they heard the sound. The scientists then used their technology to specifically locate the memory associated with the sound and electric shock. When they had located the memory, they decreased the activity in the brain cells which controlled the memory. Decreasing the activity in the brain cells meant that the mice were no longer associating the sound with the electric shock.
The scientists also found that when they increased the activity in the brain cells where the memory was located, it came back. This meant that after increasing the brain cell activity, the mice associated the sound with the electric shock as they did before the brain activity was decreased. Due to this, the scientists found that you can take away memories and bring them back.
When scientists are able to use the technology to be able to get rid of memories in humans, clinics will be able to use the methods. The clinics will mainly focus on giving this treatment to patients who suffer from post traumatic stress disorders and those who are battling addiction as this treatment will improve their lives on a day to day basis. This will help because it will mean that they will forget memories associated to trauma.
However, having this technology available in clinics means that more people can have access to the treatment. Scientists involved in the research have spoken out about their concerns the availability of the treatment will mean that patients will be able to get rid of memories such as a bad breakup. They are concerned by this because if patients choose to get rid of some memories, they won’t be able to learn from the mistakes they previously made in the relationship.
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