Scientists Discover Gene Needed for ‘Memory Extinction’

sunshine mouseLike everyone, I’ve got my share of bad memories, but would erasing them change me for the worse?

Via Medical News Today:

Many of us are the bearers of “bad” memories that, to this day, continue to affect our lives. Now, scientists say they have discovered a gene essential for “memory extinction,” the process by which our brain replaces older memories with new experiences.

Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) say the discovery could help people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by replacing “fearful” memories with more positive associations.

The gene, Tet1, has been found to play a critical role in memory extinction by controlling a small group of other genes that are necessary for the process.

For the study, published in the journal Neuron, the research team experimented on mice who had the Tet1 gene “knocked out,” as well as on mice who had normal levels of the gene.

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8 Comments on "Scientists Discover Gene Needed for ‘Memory Extinction’"

  1. When the trans-humanists talk about uploading your consciousness to a
    robotic avatar, they talk about consciousness as if it were solely your
    memories. It had occurred to me in that context,
    “If you choose not to upload the bad memories, will you still be you?”
    Now technology is approaching the same thing from a different angle and I
    have the same question. To what extent are we who we are because of the
    experiences we’ve had good and bad?

    • Simon Valentine | Sep 23, 2013 at 6:43 pm |

      and then the dybbuk said “say, is that me in the mirror?!?”

      “omg now that i’ve read that i’m not me anymore” doesn’t quite cut it ;o

  2. The sense I get is that it’s not erasing the memory or anything, it’s just dulling it out so that it doesn’t feel so raw anymore. That doesn’t seem like a bad thing in extreme cases.

  3. BuzzCoastin | Sep 23, 2013 at 10:21 pm |

    the simplest way to erase a bad memory is
    to fogetabout it

    I lose my keys every now and then
    I also forget where I put things
    I have to work hard to remember
    not to forget

  4. but memories aren’t just located in the brain right? wouldn’t doing things like that have noticeable effects on the body overall? especially memories from early childhood. and if there is some external memory network existing within and without the body what kind of effects would it have on the collective unconscious network then?

  5. mannyfurious | Sep 24, 2013 at 12:19 pm |

    Why is it so difficult for people to understand that pain and sadness is necessary for life. This is like the Louis CK video posted a few days ago. One of the reasons why the world is become less and less humane is because we have too much shit to distract us from the pain and discomfort of life. But it’s the pain and discomfort that make true happiness and contentment possible. Otherwise you’re just ignoring your own humanity. Any compassion or empathy I can claim is directly correlated to the pain and suffering I have experienced. How can I connect to others if I am incapable of understanding who they are and why they are who they are? How can I be caring to and for others if I am incapable of remembering the times in in my own life when I could’ve used someone to care for me?

  6. InfvoCuernos | Sep 24, 2013 at 2:58 pm |

    There’s an easy way to erase bad memories-just join the scientologists and they’ll “clear” you right up (<–sarcasm).

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