Scientists erase memories in mice

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Ishindri
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Scientists erase memories in mice

Postby Ishindri » Thu Oct 23, 2008 11:01 pm UTC

http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl? ... 0&from=rss
http://news.yahoo.com/s/hsn/20081022/hl ... riesinmice

I'm impressed. This could be a leap forward in understanding the middle part of memory function. Of course, there are all the potential applications as well, benign and not.

On one hand, it could be used to eliminate traumatic memories and generally make people's lives easier. On the other, it could be used by an unethical government to control the populace. And in the moral gray area, it could be used to 'rehabilitate' criminals.

It only does specific memories at the moment, but I'm wondering something. If enzyme production were accelerated, and then neuronal circuits associated with recall artificially stimulated, could this be done without the consent of the affected? Could recall be overstimulated for a broader effect?
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Re: Scientists erase memories in mice

Postby lorenith » Thu Oct 23, 2008 11:32 pm UTC

Ishindri wrote:On one hand, it could be used to eliminate traumatic memories and generally make people's lives easier. On the other, it could be used by an unethical government to control the populace. And in the moral gray area, it could be used to 'rehabilitate' criminals.


That reminds me of something in Babylon 5, basically criminals could be sentenced to "death of personality" or something like that, they'd have their mind/memories/so on erased and do public service the rest of their lives.

While it is neat in finding out how memory works, I really hope a way to easily do it to people never happens, cause it kind of scares me. D:
Last edited by lorenith on Fri Oct 24, 2008 1:01 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

++$_
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Re: Scientists erase memories in mice

Postby ++$_ » Fri Oct 24, 2008 12:53 am UTC

So now we can engage in the equivalent of mental masturbation by studying complex analysis* over and over again, each time as though it's the first time?

AWESOME.

Where do I sign up?

*You may substitute another branch of mathematics if you wish.

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Re: Scientists erase memories in mice

Postby fyrenwater » Fri Oct 24, 2008 4:11 am UTC

"Don't forget: with Lacuna, you can forget!"

I'm thinking this will be a bad idea, even if used properly. I mean, it's the hardships we deal with that makes us who we are.
...It made more sense in my head.

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Re: Scientists erase memories in mice

Postby apricity » Fri Oct 24, 2008 5:29 am UTC

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind? :(

Spoiler: It turned out badly.
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Ashbash
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Re: Scientists erase memories in mice

Postby Ashbash » Fri Oct 24, 2008 8:14 am UTC

Damnit, I wanted to bring up that movie!

When they say specific memory, are they talking about "what happened at 5pm last tuesday" style memories, or "the smell of coffee" style memories?

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Re: Scientists erase memories in mice

Postby Zamfir » Fri Oct 24, 2008 8:19 am UTC

++$, what the world really needs is a way to make the study of boring subjects feel like real masturbation. Now that would be a boon for the economy.

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Re: Scientists erase memories in mice

Postby 22/7 » Fri Oct 24, 2008 12:30 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:++$, what the world really needs is a way to make the study of boring subjects feel like real masturbation. Now that would be a boon for the economy.
Except that you'd have this massive influx of students studying constantly and never actually going to work. So, bad for the economy, good for the universities.
Ashbash wrote:Damnit, I wanted to bring up that movie!

When they say specific memory, are they talking about "what happened at 5pm last tuesday" style memories, or "the smell of coffee" style memories?
The first one. In the studies that NPR was talking about a summer (or two?) ago, they would shock the mice after a light came on (or some other such warning) and so, obviously, when the light went on, they'd tense up, waiting for the shock. This treatment eliminated that response.
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: Scientists erase memories in mice

Postby Outchanter » Sat Oct 25, 2008 6:42 am UTC

When will they be able to implant memories? Spanish vocabulary, for instance?

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Re: Scientists erase memories in mice

Postby Angua » Sat Oct 25, 2008 8:28 pm UTC

Paycheck.

Spies will probably have their cool factor reduced because they won't be able to remember their missions, and then never get better as they won't remember techniques they learn.
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Re: Scientists erase memories in mice

Postby pyroman » Sat Oct 25, 2008 11:56 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:++$, what the world really needs is a way to make the study of boring subjects feel like real masturbation sex. Now that would be a boon for the economy.


fixed

but yea kinda scary although it does open up a whole new world of possibilities.
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apricity
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Re: Scientists erase memories in mice

Postby apricity » Sun Oct 26, 2008 1:31 am UTC

Angua wrote:Spies will probably have their cool factor reduced because they won't be able to remember their missions, and then never get better as they won't remember techniques they learn.

I think that if just mice were tested, it's really difficult to tell whether their explicit response to the stimulus went away, because they actually forgot that there would be a shock, or if their implicit response was extinguished, because their body forgot there would be a shock. It seems more likely to me that it's the latter. Someone correct me if I sound really wrong. But if I'm right, this still wouldn't do anything to fight the "what I did at 5 pm on Wednesday" memories. It would, however, be awesome in treating phobias.
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Re: Scientists erase memories in mice

Postby '; DROP DATABASE;-- » Sun Oct 26, 2008 1:41 am UTC

One step closer. Let me know when memories can be transferred between brain and computer. :P I've got one or two I think I could live without, and a few I'd like to have converted to a more replay-friendly format. ;) And maybe it'd be possible to download other peoples' memories into your brain, to instantly learn things...

Anyway, this is cool, but I agree it doesn't sound like very solid proof. After they did this, the mice stopped reacting? Maybe they just weren't able to react, or maybe they forgot just about everything. Maybe they forgot how to react. It's hard to say when you can't communicate with them.
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Ishindri
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Re: Scientists erase memories in mice

Postby Ishindri » Sun Oct 26, 2008 3:59 am UTC

Well, the mice also seemed to lose familiarity with objects they had been previously trained with (toys, mazes, and so forth). So it's not just expectation of a stimulus.
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Re: Scientists erase memories in mice

Postby fyrenwater » Sun Oct 26, 2008 7:25 am UTC

lanicita wrote:Spoiler: It turned out badly.

It's a vague ending, so you can't say it's good or bad.

But it does go on about the topic of wiping memories and bad stuff coming from it.
...It made more sense in my head.

Outchanter
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Re: Scientists erase memories in mice

Postby Outchanter » Mon Oct 27, 2008 3:30 am UTC

I hope DRM is entirely discredited before this becomes practical. Otherwise we'll be having our memories erased immediately after watching a film so that we can't illicitly replay scenes in our minds.

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Re: Scientists erase memories in mice

Postby GreaterSteven » Tue Oct 28, 2008 2:19 am UTC

Outchanter wrote:I hope DRM is entirely discredited before this becomes practical. Otherwise we'll be having our memories erased immediately after watching a film so that we can't illicitly replay scenes in our minds.


Jesus Christ.

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Re: Scientists erase memories in mice

Postby clintonius » Tue Oct 28, 2008 2:01 pm UTC

I have it on good authority that Jesus Christ does not endorse DRM.
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