New Science May Make Deleting Bad Memories Possible

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The deleting of bad memories of past anguish may seem like an impossible undertaking, unless the individual contracts amnesia or Alzheimer’s disease. It is being said that its likelihood in the future is looking good. Researchers have identified fear neurons in lab mice in order to wipe away the written troubles of the mind. This same technique may come in handy in human beings. The ethical dilemma this presents to mankind is a little too close for comfort. Such a procedure may help PTSD sufferers and even aid drug addicts in giving up their favorite substances. However, a new problem will take its place. That problem; the person will not learn from past mistakes.

Engrams are neurons in the brain that are stimulated each time we form a memory. A few neurons actually compete with each other to enter the engram of the fearful memory. From the large quantities of neurons in the brain, only a couple of them form fear memories. A surplus of a brain protein ensures this. Via genetic targeting of these neurons, the traumatic memories can be deleted without damaging good memories. Even cocaine addiction in mice could be erased through destroying the emotional residues fixated on the experience of taking this substance.

These discoveries show that one day in the future, it could be possible to treat individuals who have PTSD. The only catch is that if we delete the bad memories, we also delete our learning experience and so may be likely to repeat our mistakes over and over again. The thing is that just because something is possible, it doesn’t mean we ought to haphazardly and blindly start doing it on a commercial level. There are a few downsides to this process and so careful forethought will have to be exercised before such a radical step is taken. While deleting a memory is not too complicated, it doesn’t come without its fallout.

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