Last week I wrote about brain functions.
A tremendous article in “Wired” magazine deals with the latest findings about memory and recalling memories. We have to use the poor rats and mice to do our experiments but what has been discovered is both impressive and a bit scary. It’s been known for some time that we can bring about memory habits in rats by bells, shocks, rewards, etc. But we can now ERASE the memory. That is wild! I have a few memories I’d like to have erased.
Scientists have discovered that we reassemble all the cells and emotions that give us a memory replay there has to be a particular “protein” that allows the cells with the pieces of our memory puzzle to re-connect. If we eliminate that protein we cannot remember. Well, at least the rats can’t remember.
It is believed that we will be able to work with, let’s say, a soldier with PTSD. If we have him recall and write down the horrible incident or incidents that may be causing nightmares or drinking problems and give him an injection or a pill at that moment, the protein enabler will be dis-abled and the memory will be gone forever. Cool, huh? Scary, huh?
There is no more expensive societal plague than drug addiction. It is estimated to cost about 600 Billion per year. Addiction is driven by memory. It can be as simple as the memory of being high or the memory of pain which subsides when we get drunk or high. So far, rats that have become addicted to various drugs have had their cravings completely wiped clean. Of course, we haven’t heard the rat’s side of the story and how they are doing but the thought of being able to cure painful pathologies has merit.
One of the scientists involved with these break-through studies is quoted, “My worst nightmare is that some evil dictator gets ahold of this.”
Yeah, there is that.