Weizmann Institute finding may lead to new treatments for psychological trauma
Is it possible to intentionally forget specific memories, without affecting other memories? Many would undoubtedly be happy to learn that unpleasant memories might be erased. This ability could be especially significant when it comes to the kind of traumatic memories that are debilitating to those experiencing them. It may well be that in the future, we will be able to wipe out, or at least dim, certain types of memories with controlled accuracy. A new fundamental rule governing the workings of the brain, recently discovered by a team of scientists in the Weizmann Institute of Science, headed by Prof. Yadin Dudai of the Neurobiology Department, constitutes a step towards reaching this goal.
Every memory that we acquire undergoes a "ripening" process (called consolidation) immediately after it is formed. In this process, it becomes impervious to outside stimulation or drugs that would obliterate it. Until recently, the accepted dogma was that for each separate item of memory, consolidation occurs just once, after which the time window that allows for "memory erasing" closes (usually about an hour or two after the memory is acquired).
Alex Smith | EurekAlert!
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