Can We Get Rid Of Bad Memories
Banish Those Nasty Memories
A new study has been released that demonstrates just how our brain separates and stores good and bad memories in separate parts of the Amygdala ( the main memory centre in the brain) researchers tell us that the discovery of this (for want of a better phrase) brain based filing system could potentially lead to a future cure for depression and other brain related conditions..
The study, which was carried out on rodents looked at both negative and positive neurons in the amygdala, and proved that they can actually be manipulated to alter how they behave.
Scientists based in Japan discovered that nice experiences and memories are stored towards the back of the basolateral nucleus (BLA) in the brain, while unpleasant thoughts and memories are stored towards the front… the two regions interact with each other, to control the behaviour associated with both good and bad memories and thoughts.
The Study Itself
Researchers attempted to generate both negative thoughts/memories in male mice by first exposing the mice to a very mild electric shock to one of the feet, and then followed it up by the introducing water or the company of a female mouse ( a pleasant experience)
These two experiences left a marker in the amygala in the form of the gene c-fos – this is a marker of neural activity..
The activated neurons had distinctive differences…. both had different genetic markers – Rpso2 for the negative neurons and Ppp1r1b for the positive neurons..
The researchers found that the negative neurons were found at the front of the BLA where as the positive neurons were stored towards the back… There was also a distance difference in the size,shape and electrical properties between the two types of neurons, which makes them easy to separate..
The scientists also discovered that the different neurons brought on different behaviour in the mice.
The researchers discovered that they could weaken or change the behaviour of the mice by targeting the neutrons with precise bursts of light ( a process known as optogenetics)… they discovered that the light stimulation of positive neurons during the shock treatment reduced the mice reaction to the unpleasant experience, and when the negative neurons were stimulated during pleasant conditions ( when give water or when close to female mice) the positive reactions were reduced..
This means that stimulation of certain neurons could stop or reduce the positive of negative effects of unpleasant or nice experiences..
Scientists believe that the same treatment to humans could potentially help reduce the feelings of stress and depression…
Where Does Our Body File Unwanted Thoughts
Another study carried out in Scotland has highlighted the possibility that we have an active deletion process that moves certain thoughts and memories to a virtual trash bin in our brain… the findings could (it is hoped) help develop new treatments against alzheimers and other forms of dementia..
Memories are formed and maintained by chemical signalling between brain cells using receptors known as AMPA receptors.. the more of these receptors are present, the stronger the memory… If the memory is not recalled for an extended period of time, these receptors are gradually removed and in turn the memory is slowly erased until its forgotten….
Scientists believe that people could be effectively be trained to keep important memories and delete unwanted or unpleasant ones….. Research Continues….