Brain Scientists Find 'Memory Molecule'

Blocking it could erase memories; enhancing may stave off dementia
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 6, 2009 8:44 AM CDT
Brain Scientists Find 'Memory Molecule'
Lab rats were used in this particular memory study: after learning that a certain part of a moving platform was electrified, rats who got an injection in their brains forgot to avoid that area.   (AP Photo/Andre Penner)

Imagine having the power to wipe out a particularly troubling memory, or to enhance neuron systems in order to stave off the effects of dementia. Such techniques, once only considered by science fiction writers and philosophers, could now be within our grasp, based on studies in animals. The New York Times considers this memory research and its implications.

There are, of course, ethical questions and niggling details. For instance, how could you be sure that erasing one instance wouldn’t also affect all the other memories linked to it? Still, scientists’ discovery of a molecule that facilitates the activity of neurons in the memory region of the brain has excited the field, and raised new scientific possibilities. (More memory stories.)

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