Breaking News – Incredible technique allows scientists to erase memories



AutoNews- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) could soon be a thing of the past, thanks to an incredible new technique devised by scientists.The technique allows researchers to selectively erase particular memories, using light.While it has only been tested in mice so far, the team believes that it may offer new insights into how PTSD and specific phobias may be better treated.The researchers exposed mice to two sounds – a high-pitch tone and a low-pitch tone – neither of which produced a fear response in the mice. Next, they paired only the high-pitched tone with a mild footshock administered to the mice. When the mice were then played the two tones again, the researchers found that when the high pitch tone was played, the mice ceased all movement ‘“ called freezing behaviour, showing that they had developed a fear memory. But they showed no such response to the low pitch sound. The researchers found that such behavioural training strengthened connections that relay the high-pitch tone signals to an area of the brain called the amygdala. Using a method called optogenetics, the researchers then weakened the synaptic connection with light. They found that this erased the fear memory for the high pitch tone.Researchers from the University of California, Riverside developed the technique, which weakens connections between the nerve cells involved in forming certain memories.To survive in a dynamic environments, animals develop fear responses to dangerous situations.But not all fear memories, such as those in PTSD, are beneficial to our survival.For example, while an extremely fearful response to the sight of a helicopter is not a useful one for a war veteran, a quick reaction to the sound of a gunshot is still desirable.In the study, the researchers found that fear memory can be manipulated in a way so that some beneficial memories are retained, while others that are detrimental to our lives, are suppressed.Dr Jun-Hyeong Cho, lead author of the study, said: ‘In the brain, neurons communicate with each other through synaptic connections, in which signals from one neuron are transmitted to another neuron by means of neurotransmitters.’We demonstrated that the formation of fear memory associated with a specific auditory cue involves selective strengthening in synaptic connections which convey the auditory signals to the amygdala, a brain area essential for fear learning and memory.’We also demonstrated that selective weakening of the connections erased fear memory for the auditory cue.’The researchers exposed mice to two sounds – a high-pitch tone and a low-pitch tone ‘“ neither of which produced a fear response in the mice.Next, they paired only the high-pitched tone with a mild footshock administered to the mice.When the mice were then played the two tones again, the researchers found that when the high pitch tone was played, the mice ceased all movement ‘“ called freezing behaviour, showing that they had developed a fear memory.But they showed no
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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4798574/Incredible-technique-allows-scientists-erase-memories.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490

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