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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Neuroscientists have learned how to erase people’s memories


A group of scientists from Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium and the Leibniz Institute in Germany, found a way to erase certain memories. For this was the need to “turn off” the activity of a particular gene. In experiments on mice were obtained evidence that established researchers method really works.

Frame from the movie “total Recall”

Experts note that sometimes certain memories of living beings may be lost as a result of injury or the development of neurological diseases. However, scientists have found a way to achieve this effect artificially, using a kind of “genetic switch”. They found a gene called “neuroplasty”. According to the neuroscientists, to date, this gene was not too well understood, although a number of researchers in the past were able to relate the changes of its activity with cognitive decline and the development of schizophrenia.

Scientists bred genetically modified mice in which they could “disable” and “enable” neuroplasty. Then the mice were trained to perform a certain task — to run from one end of the corridor to the other when you turn on the light. This required consolidation in rodents a specific Association (the most classic example of such training, call the Pavlov’s dog). Over time, all mice began to perform the task without problems.

After fixing Association, the researchers “turned off” in some mice the gene neuroplasty, while the other left his work without changes. The result of the mouse from the control group, as expected, continued to perform the task. However, those who have the gene was disabled, began to experience difficulties like not previously faced with a similar task. Based on this, neuroscientists have come to the conclusion that they “erased” the associative memories of rodents.

In the future, experts expect to see what other “types” of memories affects the work of neuroplasty. Their current results they presented in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

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