A Pill that could make you Forget Your Most Traumatic Memories

February 27, 2012 in Daily Bulletin

Wired reports on the latest research on human memory formation and what this may mean for the capabilities of future therapies and treatments:

  • Memories aren’t permanent stores of information. Instead they are constantly updated so that they are made more relevant to our everyday experiences. Every time we access a memory we change it.
  • The biochemistry of this process is now being understood. Some experiments carried out on animals have shown that it’s possible to make animals ‘forget’ specific memories. Using similar processes it might also be possible to significantly increase our memory capabilities.
  • In the future it might be possible to take a pill that lets you forget parts of traumatic events. This might sound unnatural but we naturally do this every time we access a memory.
  • At first these treatments would be used to help patients deal with crippling pain. Then it might be used to help drug addicts. After that its potential applications are limitless.
  • Critics point out that our pain and experiences play an important role in helping us to learn. Moreover while in the past dictators have tried to re-write history books, now they could literally re-write the memories and recollections of individuals if such medicines became common place.

To read more about what science tells us about our memories, the recollections of those who experienced 9/11, and how to select which memories to erase read the five page report here.

Source: Wired