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Memory-Erasing Chemical

Putting a stop to the retrieval of drug-associated memories may help people prevent relapses in their treatment of additions, according to new research in the August 13 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.

The new study's authors, Amy Milton, PhD, Barry Everitt, ScD, and colleagues at the University of Cambridge showed that disrupting memories of drug-associated cues during reconsolidation reduced drug-seeking behavior, even in animals with extensive drug taking experience.

The researchers trained rats to associate the switching on of a light with an infusion of cocaine. Then the researchers "reactivated" the memory of the association by exposing the rats to the light without the cocaine infusion. Later, the rats continued to perform behaviors that turned on the light or learned to perform new behaviors in an effort to get more cocaine.

However, when the researchers treated the rats with a chemical that interfered with the action of the NMDA-type glutamate receptor prior to the "reactivation" session, the rats showed reduced cocaine-seeking behaviors. Whether injected into a brain region activated by drug-associated cues, or given systemically, this single treatment reduced or even stopped drug-seeking behavior for up to a month.

SF fans remember fondly (or do they?) the erased memories from Philip K. Dick's We Can Remember It For You Wholesale.

Here's a tip; you may not want to be around when those memories come back out.


(Arnold in Total Recall)

From Eurekalert via io9 and frolix_8.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 8/13/2008)

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