With all the hubbub about gadgets being released constantly, it’s easy to get distracted and miss some of the other technological breakthroughs that have been happening recently. In particular, I’m talking about discoveries that have to do with the brain. There has been huge progress over the past year when it comes to what is possible regarding our brains. Recently, scientists found that they can delete bad memories (while keeping the good memories intact).
They have only been able to do this in mice so far. However, you know that means they are very close to doing it in people too. What if we could just go to a clinic to have our bad memories erased? You never know, that could be a reality in the future. I remember several months ago when I wrote about some brain researchers who could figure out who we are thinking about by analyzing our brains (you can read about that at No More Secrets). The ability to erase bad memories takes that to a whole new level though.
You might be wondering why it would be useful to erase bad memories. There are a lot of applications for this, but in the mice, scientists used it to help with addiction. For example, if someone addicted to drugs sees money or smells a cigarette, that person might slide and give in to the addiction. However, if the association of those things is erased from that person’s brain, beating addiction could suddenly become a lot easier.
According to Courtney Miller, a TSRI assistant professor who led the research:
“Our memories make us who we are, but some of these memories can make life very difficult. Not unlike in the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, we’re looking for strategies to selectively eliminate evidence of past experiences related to drug abuse or a traumatic event. Our study shows we can do just that in mice – wipe out deeply engrained drug-related memories without harming other memories.”
You can read more about this fascinating discovery here on Scripps Research Institute. My question is, what if they accidentally made a mistake and erased all the memories in a person’s mind? I’m sure they would have safeguards in place for that, right? Yikes.
Scientists Have Figured Out How To Erase Bad Memories