There are some pretty bizarre things happening in the world of scientific research, but one of the latest things that might blow your mind is the fact that scientists are getting closer to being able to erase fearful memories from your brain. At the Weizman Institute of Science, scientists have been conducting research that has been successful in turning off a neuronal mechanism in a mouse’s brain that’s associated with a scary memory. As a result, the lucky mouse gets to carry on with their day without ever knowing this frightening thing happened to them.
We know it sounds a little crazy and maybe even a little bit freaky, but that’s a window into the current world of science. The research was reported in a study published in Nature Neuroscience, and the scientists used a genetically-engineered virus to manipulate how the amygdala neurons and the prefrontal cortex neurons communicated. Then they studied the behavior of the mice without those fearful memories.
This could have an important impact on people who are struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Dr. Ofer Yizhar, the research team leader, says our minds are very good at holding onto bad memories, and that can be a serious problem for people who have experienced serious trauma.
“That’s why it’s easier to remember things you care about…but it’s also the reason that memories of traumatic experiences are often extremely long-lasting, predisposing people to PTSD,” he continued.
Hopefully this means the future will hold some kind of way for scientists to help troubled individuals get rid of the painful memories that prevent them from living their most fulfilling life. In the meantime, we’ll just dream of forgetting about that truly bizarre Tinder date we went on last night.