At the University of Montreal, researchers have found a drug that seems able to decrease a person's recall of a bad memory. It's not exactly Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but it's a pretty remarkable step down the road to active memory modification. And it worked out so well in the movie, right? I haven't watched the whole thing but it really did seem like Jim Carrey was going to be happy with his new memories.
The drug is actually not a new creation: Metyrapone is often used to diagnose adrenal insufficiency, but these researchers found that its effect on stress hormones might be its most useful attribute. Metyrapone decreases the levels of cortisol, which is a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal gland in response to stress. These early trials suggest that by messing around with the levels of cortisol in a person's body at the time of a stressful event, memories of that event might be impaired--possibly permanently. It's a very different technique than the neurological manipulations we explored a few years back. There is a sort of reverse of this process that's used to increase memory--at least, in elderly mice.
The researchers conducted a trial in which men were given a dosage of metyrapone and taught a story with both neutral and negative elements. The subjects were then asked to remember as much of the story as possible at two separate occasions: immediately after they learned it, and four days later. They found that the men who received a dose of metyrapone were unable to remember the negative elements of the story in as much detail as the neutral elements, while the placebo group could remember both neutral and negative elements equally well.
While these tests are certainly in the very early stages, the research shows serious promise, especially as they might provide the ability to treat post-traumatic stress syndrome--though with metyrapone no longer being manufactured, it may be tricky to continue the research.
By the sounds of it, it seems like you would need to take this while the even occured, to reduce the impact of the memory from the increase in the stress horomone, so maybe a potential 'supplement" for people in a stress full career fields, EMTs, soldier in battle, surgeons, etc.? It doesn't sound like it will work after the fact right?
That was my impression Ian. My problem with this would be that sometimes we need bad memories to help us learn not to do something over again. If I forgot that I hated bungy-jumping or worse, like doing something painful, then I might subject myself to it over and over again.
i certainly wouldn't want to knock on some of my ex-girlfriends' doors...
WOW!!!!!!!! This is gonna come in handy....
but don't we learn the most from bad memories/experiences? i would never take this.
where's the part that lists the side effects
But don't worry about those we got pills for them too...now you can forget being stood up at the prom.
@lanredneck and mbrd- As I understand it (could be wrong) the brain re-writes your memeoried when you recall them. lets also not forget they are bad memories, so you would experience that contidol inducing stress when you recall them, i should think..
at any rate.. horrible idea.
Can I use it to suppress my memory of Obama?
As the worst President in US history I wish I could!
hmm. I cant lie. I have a few memories that I wish sometimes would go away for ever. some 15 years old or more... still clear as day the day they were created. i don't want to remember. but their they are sometimes.
BUT if those memories disappeared, what about the lessons I learned? they would disperse as well.
Even if it was something like rape. The rape still happened. doesn't the person still learn something from it? maybe not. I don't know. I am not expert.
I guess there are cases where its better to forget than to remember. I know that I remember my horrible memories for a reason. this is dangerous territory that is all I am saying.
just look at legal ramifications. What if it was a rape? and the trial was revisited for WHAT ever reason. appeal. new evidence. dirty cop's old cases are reviewed when they are caught etc. The rapist might go free if the victum took this drug and is no longer able to remember details.
dangerous territory indeed.
@gizmowiz whats your problem? most of the time you have such well articulated and intelligent comments that really add to an article. Then like your comment here you are nothing more than a TROLL!
keep religion and politics OUT of a this website unless its has something to do with the topic of the article please.
hmm, if it's activated when when bad memories are recalled, then it could be very useful indeed.
And from the article, it seems to reduce clarity and detail, not eliminate the bad memory all together. Which should still allow you to derive lessons leaned from such an even, just lessen the trauma of it.
The only useful purpose I can think of for a drug like this would be to treat extreme cases of PTSD. But while "the research shows serious promise ... with metyrapone no longer being manufactured, it may be tricky to continue the research." Doesn't seem to be as seriously promising as they claim.
I wish I could forget that I'm an alcoholic
Soon there will be pills that turn bad memories into good memories...suddenly that rape doesn't seem so bad, actually it was fun! and Obama will be remembered as the best president in U.S history....wow, pills can really solve all of our problems. Perception is reality! (or so it seems)
This might be a good temp treatment for people truly suffering from a mental illness brought on by some serious event in their past (family killed, raped as child etc..) I would definitely be worried if the general public took it. We already have too much chemical drugs available to people as it is, often people reach for these when a perfectly natural solution is available.
I would rather refer someone to weed first before such as drug like this.
Give this to soldiers and we'll end their PTSD issues immediately! Oh, but then there's that pesky "I don't remember anything bad about fighting in a war, so it's fine if we go to war over any little thing" side effect...