Forgetting Is An Actively Controlled Process In The Brain
When it comes to maintaining sanity, forgetting is at least as important as remembering. Without it, the constant stream of stimuli; faces on the street, words read, items glanced at, would quickly overwhelm the mind. But the neural basis underlying the act of forgetting isn't well understood.
A new study found that in roundworms, a protein called musashi is actively involved in forgetting. Just in time for the 10th anniversary of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
In the study, published in the journal Cell, scientists found that roundworms that were genetically modified to lack the musashi protein did much better on a smell-based learning task, actively retaining memories 24 hours later that unmodified mice did not. This is one of the first studies to show that forgetting can be an active (as opposed to passive) process, the authors wrote.