Study says Memories Can be Changed to Treat Mental Illness


A new article, sure to be controversial, was published in Biological Psychiatry, Volume 76, Issue 4, titled Reconsolidation of Human Memory: Brain Mechanism and Clinical Relevance. Penned by Lars Schwabe, Karim Nader and Jens C. Pruessner, the article discusses recent advances in technologies that may be capable of altering memory and thus treating many mental disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and addiction by changing memories related to them.

The article, however, points out that this idea is not science fiction, but with recent advances, is becoming close to science fact. Memories, science now knows, are not permanent, but are instead elastic and can be altered or even removed both naturally and with some (currently poorly-understood) stimuli.

"Memory reconsolidation is probably among the most exciting phenomena in cognitive neuroscience today. It assumes that memories may be modified once they are retrieved which may give us the great opportunity to change seemingly robust, unwanted memories," explains Dr. Lars Schwabe of Ruhr-University Bochum in Germany in the article's preamble.

The first study on humans which provided evidence for this was conducted in 2003 and more research has solidified the phenomenon. The article cites many of these and chronicles the implications of the latest findings in memory reconsolidation in humans.


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