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Drug-addicted mice have bad memories erased by scientists


Scientists have found a way to erase the bad memories of drug-addicted mice.


Noel Celis

Imagine if you could erase the bad parts of your past, while keeping the pleasant parts fresh in your memory.

It's the stuff of movies, but now scientists are a step closer to allowing us to achieve it for real.

In a new study, researchers at the Scripps Research Institute found a way to block painful memories without erasing good ones — at least in rodents.

According to Science Daily, the researchers were able to pinpoint particular memories in the minds of mice and rats and wipe them out.

How did scientists give those creatures bad memories? By getting them addicted to methamphetamine.

Their withdrawal could have been full of painful memories straight out of a rodent 'Trainspotting,' but instead scientists were simply able to block the memories of what triggered the craving for meth.

"Not unlike in the movie 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,' we're looking for strategies to selectively eliminate evidence of past experiences related to drug abuse or a traumatic event," said study author Courtney Miller in a statement, according to Time's science blog.

"Our study shows we can do just that in mice — wipe out deeply engrained drug-related memories without harming other memories."

It is hoped that the research will not only help drug addicts one day but also bring us closer to being able to erase memories of other bad things, such as a test we failed, perhaps, or a job we lost.

The study was published in the journal Biological Psychiatry.