Specific Fears Can Be Removed From The Brain By Reconditioning

Posted: Nov 22 2016, 12:35pm CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

 
Specific Fears can be Removed from the Brain by Reconditioning
Scan of brain showing information associated with a fear memory. Credit: Ai Koizumi
  • The Brain can Let Go of Fear provided it is Reconditioned
  • Researchers Discovered a way to Remove Specific Fears from the Brain

According to experts, the brain can actually let go of any fear provided it is reconditioned.

Ways of removing particular fears from the human brain has been an experiment that has been partially successful so far. Yet now it is possible. A heady mix of artificial intelligence and brain scans will ensure that this strategy is viable.

This new technique got published in the inaugural edition of the journal Nature Human Behaviour.

Patients who have PTSD and phobias could be treated via this methodology in the future. It could bring peace of mind to anxious psyches that are in somewhat of a fix.

One in 14 persons have a lot of fear lurking around in their minds. This is an additional source of pressure on the mental health community.

Currently, aversion therapy is the best bet against such irrational fears that crop up in the personalities of these afflicted people. This involves constant exposure in an incremental form to fears that thus become normal standard fare for the phobic or neurotic individuals.

Yet this sort of therapy is frightening for the patients. Many do not succumb to its desensitizing effects. Their anxiety levels skyrocket instead.

Thus so many avoid the therapy. Now though a team has developed a novel technique of removing specific fears from the context of the brain. By reading and pinpointing a specific fear memory, this is accomplished in real time.

It employs Decoded Neurofeedback. Brain scans are used to track activity in the brain. Complex patterns are identified as fear memories and gotten rid of naturally and simply.

17 otherwise healthy volunteers were chosen for this experiment. A fear memory was created in their brains using a repeated electric shock. Later on a reward was paired with it to attenuate its effects.

The overall procedure is very complex indeed. AI image recognition methods are used to determine the information at stake. The fear memory was evoked and identified.

When it was simply paired with a reward, it vanished without a trace. It is a case of reprogramming. Once the fear removal ws complete, no relics of the fear reaction were found in the brains of the patients.

The sample of people who volunteered for the study was small. Yet it will still count as a seminal investigation into the treatment of such refractory illnesses as PTSD and phobias.

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