Drug Could Erase Bad Memories, But Raises Ethical Questions

April 7, 2009

(ChattahBox)— Neuro-Scientists at the SUNY Downstate Medical Center, in Brooklyn, NY have discovered a brain molecule called, PKMzeta that controls the storage of memories in our brains. When a mouse was injected with a drug, dubbed by the brain researchers as ZIP, it interfered with the PKMzeta molecule erasing previously stored memories. This groundbreaking research has implications for erasing traumatic memories, drug addiction behaviors and even shows promise for eradicating Alzheimer’s disease.

However, erasing the memories of humans present many challenging ethical concerns that researchers have yet to answer. For example, erasing memories from criminals committing violent acts, could wipe out the development of a moral conscience. Dr. Steven E. Hyman, a neurobiologist at Harvard believes this new research has enormous potential to be misused by people to erase troubling memories, which serve as positive warnings to humans to avoid certain behaviors.

There is also the disturbing implication raised by Dr. Hyman of using the ZIP drug as a smart drug or performance enhancer, creating a super class of human beings that could lead to an arms race.

The field of neuroscience is poised to explode with new discoveries as it attracts billions of dollars in new financing. Understanding the mysterious human brain is seen as the last frontier in science and it certainly presents exciting implications to cure diseases of the brain.

Dr. Todd C. Sacktor teamed up with researcher André A. Fenton, to develop the ZIP drug. They each possessed a single piece of the memory puzzle. Sacktor discovered the role the PKMzeta molecule played in memory and Fenton trained lab mice to develop memories to avoid shock producing areas in their cages.

Once the ZIP drug was injected into the mice, they lost all their previously developed memories, running right into the electric shocks again. Other studies were conducted using the ZIP drug with identical results. Yadin Dudai at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel found that one dose of ZIP even made rats forget about about a memory of a bad taste.

Perhaps this memory erasing research holds the most promise for treatment of Alzheimer’s disease which would require a drug to do just the opposite of ZIP and enhance the PKMzeta molecule to retrieve lost memories.

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Comments

3 Responses to “Drug Could Erase Bad Memories, But Raises Ethical Questions”

  1. timm on April 8th, 2009 11:58 am

    You cant b injecting people with this stuff to make them forget stuff. thats terrable it could have a bad outcome. but then again keep workin on it!

  2. Kenice Tucker on August 3rd, 2009 3:30 pm

    I was wondering if any research would be done on humans. I would like to be a part of that study. Please e-mail me

  3. teeth bleaching on April 23rd, 2010 4:54 pm

    I read your posts and i think you got talent in writing

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