Monday, September 25, 2006
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Scientists at State University of New York at Downstate Center have discovered a molecular mechanism that maintains memories in the brain. By inhibiting the molecule, researchers say they can erase long-term memories, much as you might erase a computer disc.
The molecule called “protein kinase M zeta” preserves long-term memories through persistent strengthening of synaptic connections between neurons. This is enzyme is similar to the mechanism-storing information of 0’s and 1’s in a computer’s hard disc.
By inhibiting the enzyme, scientists were able to erase a memory that had been stored for one day, or even one month. The article abstract can be found in Science Magazine
This research may be a breakthrough treatment for acute trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain, just to name a few. And this discovery may unlock the mystery to Alzheimer's Disease and other memory loss disorders.
I love research, but I can't help but think of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind , the movies
Paycheck and Total Recall , where memories were erased.
I hope this newfound research will be used for "good" purposes.