Thursday, February 5, 2015
How to Erase Bad Memories
It is possible for long term memories to be dissolved if drugs are given a specific time. Studies have shown that if a person is given a small electric shock to the brain after remembering a past event, it could help that person forget many or all of the details. 42 people with severe depression took part in the study. Scientists had already known that elctroconvulsive therapy can muddle a patient's memory, but they had figured out a way to turn this into a benefit. They found out that they could target which details would be forgotten by administering the shock shortly after the patient recalled the details. Each patient had to listen to two upsetting stories while looking at a series of pictures. After this, the patients were forced to remember the details of the events in the stories. Neuroscientists found that remembering a story in a way like this could make memories more susceptible to change. Immediately after recalling the details of one story, the patients were out to sleep. While unconscious, most patients received an electrical shock to the brain. One day later, each patient took a multiple choice test o n details about both stories. Patients who did not get electriconvulsive therapy remembered the details of both stories pretty well. Patients whose brains had been shocked only remembered the details if one story well. The one they remembered was the one they had NOT thought of just before the treatment. Details if the story the patients had though about just before being jolted were recalled poorly. In fact, the patients scored no better remembering these details than if they had merely guessed at the answers. These results suggest that electriconvulsive therapy can diminish recall of anything a patient had been thinking about just before treatment, though it took a day before the fuzziness to begin working. While electriconvulsive therapy may never be an appropriate method for simply getting rid of bad memories, it can help people already receiving treatment. For them this may help them to get control over crippling memories. For instance, a patient may target a troubling memory to be wiped out just before treatment. A big concern is making sure that this will no affect good memories and well as the bad. The solution may require NOT thinking about them immediately before being shocked.