Scientists Wipe Mouse Memories

Treatment selectively erased memories of electric shocks
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 25, 2008 3:41 AM CDT
A worker displays white mice at an animal laboratory.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Scientists have succeeded in blanking selected memories from the brains of mice, Reuters reports. After brain protein levels were manipulated, the mice lost the memory of an electric shock but didn't forget anything else. The researchers said it was doubtful that it would be possible—or desirable—to do the same with the vastly more complex human brain.

"All memories, including the painful emotional memories, have their purposes,” said the lead researcher, whose work is published in the journal Neuron. "We learn great lessons from those memories or experiences so we can avoid making the same kinds of mistakes again.” Still, he added, he wouldn't be surprised if human memory wipes were developed in his lifetime.