Scientists have found that the traces of traumatic memories may be erased through a form of gene manipulation. The genetic switch responsible for the ailment can be literally turned off.
The experts have achieved an erasure of negative memories in mice using what amounts to a genetic switch. This finding got printed in the journal Biological Psychiatry.
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Several things including dementia, physical mishaps or traumatic events can trigger a loss of memories connected with the occurrence. These memories are available in the form of traces and took place before the event.
These selfsame memories can be erased on a permanent basis using a gene switch. The mice involved in the study had one of their genes switched off. This was termed neuroplastin.
This gene is crucial for the plasticity of the brain in animals and man. Transformations in neuroplastin cause everything from loss of intellectual prowess to the dreaded disease known as schizophrenia.
The study involved the mice scurrying about from one side of the box they were in to the other as a lamp lit up. This was in order to escape a foot stimulus.
This sort of associative learning is part of what Pavlov did so long ago with dogs in his conditioning experiments. The canines were quick to recognize that each time they got fed, a bell would go off.
Eventually, they showed increased salivation in response to the sound of the bell alone. The sound had become associated with the act of feeding. It was a conditioned response.
When the neuroplastin gene was switched off after the conditioning experiment, the mice refused to respond to the task at hand. They became apathetic. This memory gap and failure of the learning process had everything to do with associative shaping.
The mice in the control group that had the gene intact seemed to face no problem in the performance of the task. It was indeed a modern day miracle of science to witness how mice in the lab could forget how to do a task they had learnt awhile ago due to the switching off of a single gene.
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It was an act that was almost magical in nature. The gene seemed to have an impact on behavior and had a lot to do with how neurons connect with each other in the brain. It probably interfered with these links that the neurons had built over the passage of time.