brain neurons

New Research says Particular Memories from our brain can be erased

Our brain is a complex networks of neurons. Memories are created with different links between neurons and it seemed impossible to separate a memory from others. But now, Researchers from Columbia University Medical Center says otherwise. They stated that Different memories stored in same neuron can be selectively erased.

They suggested that it could be possible to create drugs to delete memories that trigger anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. It would be done without affecting other memories of past life.

During traumatic events like death of closed ones, our mind encode multiple memories. These  are like the information of surroundings when the event happens. These traumatic events or the information of them encoded in our brain can trigger anxiety attacks even long after the event has occurred, say the researchers.

Studies:

PhD professor “Samuel Schacher” said, “The example I like to give is, if you are walking in a high-crime area and you take a shortcut through a dark alley and get mugged, and then you happen to see a mailbox nearby, you might get really nervous when you want to mail something later on.” “One focus of our current research is to develop strategies to eliminate problematic non-associative memories that may become stamped on the brain during a traumatic experience without harming associative memories, which can help people make informed decisions in the future — like not taking shortcuts through dark alleys in high-crime areas,” Dr. Schacher adds.

Brain create long-term memories by increasing number of connections between neurons and also by increasing the strength of connections. So, long term memories become unforgettable if we recalling them over and over. Previously, it was suggested that increases in synaptic strength in creating associative and non-associative memories share common properties. This means that selectively deleting non-associative memories would be impossible. It is because for any one neuron, a single mechanism would be responsible for holding all kinds of memories.

The researchers say that their results could be useful in understanding human memory because vertebrates have similar parts in brain that helps in the formation of long-term memories. “Our study is a ‘proof of principle’ that presents an opportunity for developing strategies and perhaps therapies to address anxiety,” said Dr. Schacher. “For example, because memories are still likely to change immediately after recollection, a therapist may help to ‘rewrite’ a non-associative memory by administering a drug that inhibits the maintenance of non-associative memory.”

There is still too much research to follow, but this is a big step towards artificially hacking the brain.

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