As researchers learn more about how memory works, the possibility of targeted amnesia becomes more feasible. Scientists recently succeeded in wiping out a nasty memory from the mind of a genetically-engineered mouse. By altering the activity of a specific enzyme, they affected a mouse's ability to recall the experience of being shocked. The team from the Medical College of Georgia and the East China Normal University reported their findings in the science journal Neuron. From Science news:
Insight from such experiments may one day lead to therapies that can erase traumatic memories for people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, or wipe clean drug-associated cues that lead addicts to relapse.
“We should never think of memories as being fixed,” says Howard Eichenbaum, a neuroscientist at Boston University. “They are constantly being renovated and restructured.”
Eichenbaum is not convinced that Tsien and his colleagues have erased the mice’s memories. Altering a memory so that it can’t be recalled under certain circumstances might produce similar results, he says. “We never know for sure that it’s really gone,” he says.
But if chemicals can help someone specifically forget painful or traumatic memories, it may be irrelevant whether the memories are entirely erased or are just altered beyond recognition, Eichenbaum says.
It’s the end of an era, sort of: Fraunhofer IIS, the developers of the MP3 audio compression format, announced that they are ceasing their licensing program. In a blog post, spokesman Matthias Rose says that it’s had a good 20-year run and is obsolete. But it’s also true that the decoding patents expired last year, […]
Freddy deBoer writes that he’s been telling the same joke for years about Silicon Valley’s only product, which might be universalized as “At last, a way to verb with nouns on the internet!” But the social-media techopoly is stable, now, and so the venture capitalists have moved on to the three terrible trends that will […]
Alex Wood is an addict but won’t give up his smartphone. But he has five strategies for limiting its control over him: “I used to wake up tired. My body would ache and my head felt sore, like waking up with a hangover. Finally, I took control, like attending an AA class for addicts, I […]
If you don’t want to get stuck footing the bill for a hit and run, this dashboard-mounted camera offers up to 2K resolution to make sure you always have a reliable witness, and it’s available in the Boing Boing Store for 30% off it’s usual price.The PapaGo mounts unobtrusively to your windshield to see everything […]
While some people still maintain that everything in Apple’s walled garden “just works” and is immune to the rampant malware of the Windows world, the reality is different. The Mac’s growing market share has made it a much more viable target for malicious actors, and its built-in tools aren’t always enough to fix things. Drive […]
Boasting an IPX6 waterproof rating, the Trakk Bullet Ultra Compact Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker resists dust and heavy rainfall. It’s currently available in the Boing Boing Store.The Trakk Bullet offers the same wireless convenience as other portable speakers, but few are built as tough as this one. Its utilitarian construction is designed to be a totally low-maintenance […]