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Scientists reverse bad memories

brain memories emotions erased

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#1    taniwha

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Posted 31 August 2014 - 12:55 AM

Traumatic memories could be switched into pleasant recollections with a flash of light, scientists claim.

Doctors may one day be able to use a new technique to treat soldiers with post-traumatic stress or patients with debilitating phobias.

The method, which has been shown to work in mice, promises the ability to alter memory - a concept that so far has only been the stuff of science-fiction movies.

http://www.nzherald....jectid=11315634

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#2    Q-C

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Posted 31 August 2014 - 01:51 AM

Sounds good initially, but on thinking a bit about it I have many concerns.
Don't bad memories serve a purpose?  Not repeating a behavior, not associating with someone.  Developing knowledge that keeps us safe in the future?

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#3    taniwha

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Posted 31 August 2014 - 02:10 AM

Could it be used as an alternative to pain relief drugs I wonder, or even as a way of getting ' high'?

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#4    spartan max2

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Posted 31 August 2014 - 02:20 AM

this raises so many questions on other applications and ethics and what not :wacko:

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#5    libstaK

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Posted 31 August 2014 - 02:22 AM

View PostQuiteContrary, on 31 August 2014 - 01:51 AM, said:

Sounds good initially, but on thinking a bit about it I have many concerns.
Don't bad memories serve a purpose?  Not repeating a behavior, not associating with someone.  Developing knowledge that keeps us safe in the future?
Apparently they "alter" the memories into pleasant associations with a flash of light.  It could cut both ways:

The pros: an unpleasant memory could be revered for the lesson it imparted and make a person feel more empowered by their knowledge. eg: I was king hit in brawl but I had the strength to overcome that and it taught me how to recognize threatening behaviour in others, I am no longer as likely to be in a situation where I am an unwitting victim of others violence.

The cons: we forget to fear the unpleasant and think ourselves invincible in extreme circumstances when physically, we actually are not.

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#6    Lilly

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Posted 31 August 2014 - 10:42 AM

I am the person I am today due to my personal experiences both good and bad. I'll opt to keep all my memories as they are essentially *me* and I'm ok with being *me*.

"Ignorance is ignorance. It is a state of mind, not an opinion." ~MID~

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#7    spartan max2

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Posted 31 August 2014 - 12:45 PM

I'm curious what the limitations of this are. Like if you watch you whole family die in a crash can they somehow reverse that to be positive? Or is there a limit depending on the strength of the memory

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#8    taniwha

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Posted 01 September 2014 - 10:33 AM

View Postspartan max2, on 31 August 2014 - 12:45 PM, said:

I'm curious what the limitations of this are. Like if you watch you whole family die in a crash can they somehow reverse that to be positive? Or is there a limit depending on the strength of the memory

Yes i think it is that simple, a memory can be switched off, replaced or decreased in significance using varying wavelengths of light.
If i understand correctly this type of light stimulation can be specifically targeted to prompt a positive electrical impulse in neurons that have been encoded with genetic implants;  in effect it can artificially manipulate the mind.  

So far i think only monkeys and mice are the test subjects, but its only a matter of time before humans are next.

This particular field of neuroscience, known as optogenetics, originated in 2004.  Watch this brief graphic from MIT here.
http://video.mit.edu...ith-light-7659/

Might there be creepy side effects?  Could it also be used for bad? Maybe mass indoctrination? torture?  Might we be able to live on after death by replacing our 'selves' inside an unwitting hosts mind like a memory parasite?  Oouch!

But in reality, I found this interview with Dr Ed Boyden of MIT...

Quote

...What specifically is your group working on?

About a third of the group works on technologies from mapping the brain, about a third for recording from the brain and a third for controlling the brain. We work backwards from the physical principles of the brain, survey all the laws of physics and chemistry and engineering and so on and then synthesize those fields in order to develop ways to map and control and record things. We have more than 40 full-time people and about a dozen undergrads and volunteers. We collaborate people in hundreds of different groups all over the world on active technology involving projects. .... Read the rest here:
http://www.forbes.co...ain-with-light/


Edited by taniwha, 01 September 2014 - 10:36 AM.

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#9    Minds_Eye

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 01:03 AM

This reminds me of the movie, 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind'.  Positively altering memories of severe trauma could really help change some people's lives for the better.

"Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake." (Henry David Thoreau)

#10    Bloodflower

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 01:50 AM

It doesn't sound healthy or pleasant to zap memories with light, even bad ones. Memories that are so bad they can be traumatic can be dealt with a different way, not by attacking it as this could harm the brain. That's like a punishment. The light flash could create some damage to the person suffering bad memories that they'll be too scared to think of anything in case the lights will come again.

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