Team uses molecular switch to erase memories

October 27, 2008 — 1:46pm ET |
By John Carroll

Scientists have used a molecular switch on a protein that is found only in the brain to selectively erase certain memories. And the same approach may one day be used to delete memories that people no longer want to recall.

The “work reveals a molecular mechanism of how [memory deletion] can be done quickly and without doing damage to brain cells,” said Joe Z. Tsien, co-author of the study and co-director of the Brain & Behavior Discovery Institute at the Medical College of Georgia, Augusta.

The team developed a chemical-genetic approach to manipulate the CaMKII protein in mice bred to overproduce the enzyme. They were then exposed to shocks and watched to see if the switch could eliminate a particularly painful memory. They concluded that the switch appeared to erase specific memories while leaving the rest of their recollections intact.

– read the article from HealthDay

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