Amnesia Beam Under Dev - Uh, What Was I Saying
An Amnesia beam seems to be possible, based on research done on animals. Although the Men in Black probably won't be getting neuralizers any time soon, it's not because they aren't working on it.
(K and J demonstrate the neuralizer [sunglasses - on!])
It turns out that it is possible to induce retrograde amnesia in rats with a brilliant flash of light.
A photoflash has been shown to be an effective amnesiac under certain conditions. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a photoflash in relation to the potency of the preceding event, a foot shock of varying intensities. The task was a single avoidance-trial paradigm. The subject was placed in a small aversive chamber with a door that allowed the subject to enter a large, preferred chamber. Once inside the preferred chamber, the subject received a 1-s foot shock followed by a photoflash. On the avoidance trail, the subject was again placed in the aversive chamber and the time required to enter the preferred chamber was measured. If the photoflash had produced retrograde amnesia (RA), the time required to enter would be small. Retrograde amnesia was demonstrated for the 80-, 85-, and 100-V foot-shock test trials
Wired also points out that, in a 1980's study, low-level exposure to a beam of electrons can cause rats to forget what just happened to them.
It has been demonstrated that electron beam exposure produces retrograde amnesia (RA). RA production was evaluated using a single trial avoidance task across a 10,000 dose range for 10 microseconds, 1 microsecond, and 0.1 microseconds pulsed exposures. The dose-response curve obtained at each pulse duration showed significant RA production. The most effective dose range was 0.1-10 rads at a dose rate of 1 million rad/sec. Our conclusion was that the RA effect might be due to sensory system activation which provided a novel stimulus that masked previous stimuli (produced RA).
Given all the attention lately to Amnesia Drugs, Selective Memory Deletion by altering enzymes and Memory-Erasing Chemicals, it's good to know that amnesia beams are not being neglected.
From Wired; thanks to Moira for the tip.
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