A growing body of evidence, dating back to the late 1960s, suggests that we can lessen the emotional blow of negative memories (and even get rid of them altogether) months and years after those memories originally formed. The key is that memories seem to be vulnerable to manipulation and erasure as you're recalling them, not just at the time of creation. The newest research — and some of the most convincing to date — used electroconvulsive therapy to effectively remove the details of traumatizing stories from the minds of healthy volunteers. Virginia Hughes has a story about the newest study at her blog:
Schiller’s experiments have also bolstered the reconsolidation hypothesis. She has shown, for example, that if people recall a fearful memory and then go through ‘extinction learning’ — meaning that they’re shown the fearful stimulus over and over again without any pain — they can erase the emotional sting of the memory. Other groups have shown something similar by giving people propranolol, a beta-blocker, immediately after recalling a memory.
The new study adds ECT to the list. There are still a lot of questions. For example, it’s not clear how ECT is disrupting reconsolidation. Or if it’s doing it at all: The effect could be partly or wholly due to anesthesia, though the researchers say this is unlikely. Most importantly, no one knows whether the procedure would work with old, real memories, as opposed to those artificially created in the lab.
Writing for the New York Times, Heather Murphy has a fascinating story about the unexpected results of a bone marrow transplant. When a patient receives a bone marrow transplant, the patient’s own cells are destroyed and replaced with cells from a donor. Thereafter, the patient is a “chimera,” with two sets of DNA. It’s believed […]
I’m not an engineer, but I can’t stop watching this hypnotic and oddly satisfying video of tying rebar.
The Australian Acoustic Observatory project, described by its creators as a kind of “Google Street View of sound,” is a new acoustic sensor network of hundreds of microphones and digital audio recorders distributed across multiple remote ecosystems on the continent. The solar-powered system will record animal and natural sounds continuously for 5 years. According to […]
We love our smartphones and tablets, but we also love to write. For a while now, there hasn’t been a workable solution. Either hook it up to a keyboard (which defeats the purpose of a portable gadget) or resign ourselves to typing on tiny, unresponsive glass icons. Looks like technology has finally caught up to […]
So you’ve got an iPhone 11 Pro Max. It’s an impressive piece of hardware – sometimes, too impressive. The more you’re compelled to use it, the more an age-old problem pops up: The dreaded low battery warning. Even if you’re on the go, perhaps the best solution to this is also pretty unobtrusive. It’s the […]
The good news: Software like Adobe Premiere Pro, Camtasia and Final Cut Pro has opened up a ton of possibilities for desktop videographers. On the other hand, their use is so widespread that you have to be an expert in them before you can even think about a career in the field. That’s a requirement […]