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Could electroconvulsive therapy zap worst nightmares?

RATE THIS! +47
Posted in Science on 24th Feb, 2014 04:47 AM by AlexMuller

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), long associated in the popular imagination with controversial treatment of the mentally ill, can be used to erase memories, Dutch researchers have found - raising hopes of a new treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

 

They say that, in the end, memories are all we have left. And yet how many times have you wished you could forget something?

 
Now new research suggests it may be possible to zap specific memories, with the help of ECT, a controversial psychiatric treatment where electric pulses are passed through the brain. Dr Marijn Kroes, of the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour at Radboud University Nijmegen, who led the study, says the treatment appears to disrupt the natural process of storing memories in the brain.
 
Last-resort treatment: "Memories are stored in connections between cells in your brain," he says. However, these connections take some time to become permanent. "If you disturb [this] process, you lose the connection between cells altogether" - and thus lose the memory.

Tags: memoryElectroconvulsive therapyPTSDmental illnessbrainneuroscience

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Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-02-24
+2
I am not sure that without further research this should be used as a therapy to erase memories- brain and memories are complex and any mistake will just produce another controversial treatment
2 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-02-24
+0
Any manipulations of brain and memories could be a big problem and have a serious side effects- take care Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-02-24
+2
ECT is a controversial topic. Some believe that ECT relieves severe depression where other treatments fail, others argue that ECT is inhumane and degrading, and that its side-effects - such as memory loss - can be severe. Surely, we should first find out more before we use it any further Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-02-24
+0
What they are proposing here is to remove specific memories by bringing them back before ECT- based on what we know at present there is still a long way to go before patients are prescribed this kind of memory-altering treatment. Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-02-24
+2
Scientists are trying to work on this in different ways. Several studies have found chemical compounds that can be used to subdue or even delete memories in mice
2 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-02-24
+0
Yes, it has been reported that neurobiologists created new, specific memories by direct manipulation of the brain - this could prove key to understanding learning and memory disorders Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-02-24
+1
Most people have so-called flashbulb memories of where they were and what they were doing when something momentous happened. But as clear and detailed as these memories feel, psychologists find they are surprisingly inaccurate.
3 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-02-24
+1
One explanation that memories are inaccurate is that the very act of remembering can change our memories. Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-02-24
+0
It’s likely that some types of memory, such as a flashbulb memory, are more susceptible to change than others. Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-02-24
+0
Memories surrounding a major event might be especially susceptible because we tend to replay them over and over in our minds and in conversation with others—with each repetition having the potential to alter them. Reply
Reply


 

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