September 25, 2012 16:30
Fresh memories can be erased — so the researchers from the University of Uppsala in his new work, published in the journal Science. The results are — bright breakthrough in the study of memory and fear.
Thomas Agren, doctoral student in psychology, and his leaders, Professor Mats Fredrikson and Thomas Fyurmark showed that fresh memories of the human brain can be erased forever.
When a person learns something new, knowledge deposited in his long-term memory through a process of consolidation, based on the formation of proteins. When we remember something, the memory time is destabilized, and then restarts the process of consolidation. In other words, we can say that we do not remember what really happened, and what to remember the last time I think about this event. Interfering with the process that follows the storage of information, we can affect the contents of the memory.
In the experiment, volunteers were shown neutral images — landscapes, household items, etc., accompanying some of them showing a shock. Thus a certain image in the memory of the subjects associated with fear. So that if the show it again, people naturally react to it, as the pain.
Then the volunteers were divided into two groups — and one of them, the researchers disrupted the process of consolidation, re-members showing the same pictures, but not by giving some electric shocks, over time, the brain is physically fixed in memory of fear.
In the end, one of the subjects was fixing the association, and in the second half of the process of memory consolidation has been broken, so their memories remain neutral and not spurred a sense of fear. In addition, using a magnetic resonance scanner, the scientists were able to prove that the physical signs of this memory have also disappeared from the part of the brain that stores memories of fear — the amygdala in the temporal lobe of the brain.
"These results could mean a major breakthrough in the study of memory and fear. Ultimately, they can lead to better treatments for the millions of patients suffering from phobias, post-traumatic stress and panic attacks, "- said Thomas Agren.