Scientists find protein that could help people erase bad memories

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Researchers have discovered a protein that can be used to indicate whether people’s feelings and their memories can be changed or even forgotten.

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Long-term memories are divided into two categories: fact-based memory, such as names, places, and events, and spontaneous memory, such as feelings or skills.

Spontaneous memories can be modified, scientists believe, and such research may be able to help people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).


Scientists at the University of Cambridge found that the presence of the “shank” protein acts as a support for receptors that determine how strong the connection between different neurons is and, as a result, may determine whether beta-blockers Memories may or may not be modified using propranolol. .

If the protein malfunctions, memories are modified – although scientists are not yet clear whether it is directly involved in the breakdown of memory, or if it is the product of a deeper reaction.

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In 2004, scientists in New York were able to treat animals with propranolol to help them forget a learned trauma, but the results have been difficult to replicate.

In this new experiment, rats were trained to associate a clicker with a mild electric shock in order to associate the clicker with fear, just as Ivan Pavlov conditioned the dogs. Rats were reminded of this memory by the clicker, and were administered with propranolol shortly thereafter.

The scientists did not report amnesia in the mice, unlike in previous experiments, but used the presence of the shank protein to determine whether they had become unstable; they did not have.

“These are really complex mechanisms, and we have to bear in mind that this is the work of animals; the brains of humans are similar, but much more complex,” said lead researcher Dr Amy Milton.

“We don’t see it like the situation shown in the movies, for example ‘eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind‘, where the protagonist can choose which memories to erase. But we hope that over time we will be able to identify the factors that make memories changeable in animals and translate these into human patients.

“However, we did not observe amnesia as previously reported in the literature after this intervention. We then used the presence of the Shank protein to determine whether memories became unstable in the first place, and found that they did not. She was


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