Painful Memories Can Be Erased Using Lasers

Posted: Jan 30 2017, 11:15am CST | by , Updated: Jan 30 2017, 9:20pm CST, in News | Latest Science News

 
Painful Memories can be Erased Using Lasers
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  • Traumatic Memories can be Extinguished in the Future using Lasers

It seems that traumatic memories in victims of PTSD might be extinguished in the future using lasers.

Researchers may be able to erase any and all painful memories in the near future. Already in Japan, the experts have played around with mouse neurons and ended up eliminating the triggers for painful past experiences.The scientists in Japan decoupled the memories and their traces in the brain, according to Mail Online.

The mice were originally trained to have two different fear memories. Firstly, pain was linked to the gustatory sense. Every time the mice sipped a saccharine solution, they were injected with a nausea-inducing drug.

The second fear memory was induced by associating a tone with an electric shock. These two traumatic events were than coupled with each other.

This was done by ringing the tone whenever the mice sipped the saccharine solution. The mice went on to freeze in their behavioral repertoire whenever they tasted the sugar solution.

However, later on these two memory traces were decoupled using lasers. The field of optogenetics was employed to accomplish this. The light in concentrated form was allowed to switch on certain neurons or switch them off depending on the context.

The experiment was a success since the traumatic memories were decoupled from each other. The mice no longer froze. This finding could have future applications in the treatment of PTSD. Such an advanced method of memory erasure was virtually unknown a few years ago.

Emotions and memories have their centers in the amygdala of the human brain. The scientists used triggering mechanisms to manipulate acetylcholine in mice during the course of another experiment.

When acetylcholine was released via any method in the amygdala, a strong and emotional memory was the invariable result. As for the moments when the acetylcholine was decreased in this brain center, the memory simply got extinguished.

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