Heart pill to banish bad memories
2009 02 18

From: bbc.co.uk

Scientists believe a common heart medicine may be able to banish fearful memories from the mind.

The Dutch investigators believe beta-blocker drugs could help people suffering from the emotional after-effects of traumatic experiences.

They believe the drug alters how memories are recalled after carrying out the study of 60 people, Nature Neuroscience reports.

But British experts questioned the ethics of tampering with the mind.

Paul Farmer, chief executive of mental health charity Mind, said he was concerned about the "fundamentally pharmacological" approach to people with problems such as phobias and anxiety.

He said the procedure might also alter good memories and warned against an "accelerated Alzheimer's" approach.

In the study, the researchers artificially created a fearful memory by associating pictures of spiders with a mild electric shock delivered to the wrists of the volunteers.

A day later the volunteers were split into two groups - one was given the beta blocker propranolol and the other a dummy drug before both were shown the same pictures again.

The researchers assessed how fearful of the pictures the volunteers were by playing sudden noises and measuring how strongly they blinked, something called the "startle response".

Memories erased
The group that had taken beta blockers showed less fear than the group that had taken the placebo pill.

The following day, once the drug was out of their system, the volunteers were retested. Once again, those who had taken the beta blocker were less startled by the images.

Study leader Dr Merel Kindt explained that although the memories are still intact, the emotional intensity of the memory is dampened.

Dr Kindt stressed that using the procedure for complex conditions such as post traumatic stress disorder was still many years away.

Experiments on animals has shown beta blockers can interfere with how the brain makes sense of frightening events.

She told Nature Neuroscience: "Millions of people suffer from emotional disorders and the relapse of fear, even after successful treatment.

"Our findings may have important implications for the understanding and treatment of persistent and self-perpetuating memories in individuals suffering from emotional disorders."

But Professor Neil Burgess of the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience said the research merely demonstrates that the beta blockers reduce a person's startle response, breaking the association of the spider to these unconscious responses.

And Dr Daniel Sokol, lecturer in Medical Ethics at St George's, University of London, said memories were important, for people to learn from their mistakes for example.

"Removing bad memories is not like removing a wart or a mole. It will change our personal identity since who we are is linked to our memories. It may perhaps be beneficial in some cases, but before eradicating memories, we must reflect on the knock-on effects that this will have on individuals, society and our sense of humanity."

John Harris, Professor of Bioethics at the University of Manchester, said: "An interesting complexity is the possibility that victims, say of violence, might wish to erase the painful memory and with it their ability to give evidence against assailants."

Source: Heart pill to banish bad memories

Scientists may soon be able to erase fear and trauma from your mind



Related Articles
Erasing the Pain of the Past
'Pleasure Drugs' Boom On Way, Says Think-Tank
Stimulants
Repressed Memory - A Cultural Symptom?


Latest News from our Front Page

Why Canít We Publish Addresses Of New York Times Reporters?
2014 11 28
New York Times reporters Julie Bosman and Campbell Robertson published the address of Darren Wilson in the New York Times so here are their addresses. GotNews.com strenuously objects to publishing the addresses of individuals who are being targeted with death threats. GotNews.com published the address of Ebola patient Nina Pham so that people could avoid going to her Dallas apartment. But it would ...
Terrorists? Interview with Varg Vikernes and Marie Cachet
2014 11 28
Marie Cachet and Varg Vikernes are what we call commonly ordinary people. However, for motives meanly political, the Ministry of the Interior decided to abuse its power to damage them ; "there is nothing more annoying than a low man placed in high position." (Roman saying) Today, Varg risks the eviction of the French territory without valid ground. Three very ...
The Coudenhove-Kalergi Plan - The Genocide Of The People Of Europe
2014 11 28
Mass immigration is a phenomenon, the causes of which are still cleverly concealed by the system, and the multicultural propaganda is trying to falsely portray it as inevitable. With this article we intend to prove once and for all, that this is not a spontaneous phenomenon. What they want to present as an inevitable outcome of modern life, is actually ...
Starbucks Supports Pro-GMO Company
2014 11 26
Another reason why you should not go to Starbucks. Starbucks has an image of being a socially responsible, environmentally friendly company (Really?). In 2013, 95 percent of their coffee was ethically sourced, and their goal is to reach 100 percent by 2015.1 Other goals include reducing water consumption by 25 percent in their company-operated stores by 20152 and mobilizing their employees and ...
Group Polarization and the Fad of Ethno-masochism
2014 11 26
From "Group polarization: A critical review and meta-analysis". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 6 50 (6): 1141--1151 The psychology of White self hatred. Political correctness IS a mental disorder. More: Group polarization: A critical review and meta-analysis. Isenberg, Daniel J. the paper Indoctrinate U Harvard Professor Noel Ignatiev talks about how to end the White race The History of Political Correctness The Narrative: The origins of Political ...
More News Ľ