Erased Memories In A Flash Of Light

Erasing memories with a flash of light?


(Optogenetics explained in a short video)

[R]esearchers in California have moved a step closer to making it a reality. They used light to erase specific memories in mice, and proved a basic theory of how different parts of the brain work together to retrieve episodic memories. The technique, known as optogenetics, pioneered by Karl Diesseroth at Stanford University, is a new way to manipulate and study nerve cells using light. The techniques are rapidly becoming the standard method for investigating brain function. Kazumasa Tanaka, Brian Wiltgen and colleagues at UC Davis applied the technique to test a long-standing idea about memory retrieval.

‘The theory is that learning involves processing in the cortex, and the hippocampus reproduces this pattern of activity during retrieval, allowing you to re-experience the event,’ Wiltgen said. If the hippocampus is damaged, patients can lose decades of memories. But this model has been difficult to test directly, until the arrival of optogenetics. Wiltgen and Tanaka used mice genetically modified so that when nerve cells are activated, they both fluoresce green and express a protein that allows the cells to be switched off by light. They were therefore able both to follow exactly which nerve cells in the cortex and hippocampus were activated in learning and memory retrieval, and switch them off with light directed through a fiber-optic cable.

Science fiction movie buffs of course remember an earlier reference to the idea that you could erase memories with a flash of light. The neuralizer, a neural neutralizer, was one of the great props from the 1997 film Men in Black.


(Men in Black)

Selective memory erasure was introduced to science fiction fans in 1966, by Philip K. Dick, in his remarkable short story We Can Remember It For You Wholesale:

Someone, probably at a government military-sciences lab, erased his conscious memories...

I seem to remember several stories about memory erasure...

  - Amnesia Drugs: Bad Memories Blocked
  - Memory-Erasing Chemical
  - Selective Memory Deletion In Mice
  - Tetris Reduces Emotional Scars
  - Can Brains Erase Memories?
  - Memory Erasure Thanks To Snails

From Techodrom.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/13/2014)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Medical ")

Purdue Pharma Ready To Profit From OxyContin Use Or Addiction Recovery
'It may be organic damage. It may be permanent. Time'll tell, and only after you are off Substance D for a long while.' - Philip K. Dick, 1977.

Organaut! Russians 3D Print Living Tissue In Space
'For a while your colonists will have to come up [to orbit] to the Hospital...' - Larry Niven, 1968.

MIT Scientists Create 'Peek-a-Boo Prober' From Jetsons
Well, George, it's the latest thing.

Wound Healing With Wearable Nanogenerators
'... forcing the energy transfer which allowed him to ... erase the other internal-external damage.' - Frank Herbert, 1972.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Unfurl The Future! Huawei Mate X versus Galaxy Fold
'A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled silently from the top of the unit and immediately grew rigid.'

Amazon Echo And Google Home Should Have Morality Software
'The Dwoskin Morality Rating-Computer could 'spot the slightest tendency to deviation' from the social norm...'

China Building Robot Wives
'Want a life-companion, a pleasant one?'

China Social Credit System Like State-Run Whuffie
'At least there was no mandatory Whuffie check on the monorail platform...'

Project Soli Radar Gesture Chip Now FCC Approved
'He waved his hand and the circuit switched abruptly.'

Stan, Robot Valet, Will Drag Your Car Away
'He activated the grapple tracks. '

Jibo Home Robot Says Goodbye, Is Killswitched
'It resembles an oyster....'

Johns Hopkins Says Asteroid Deflection Will Be Difficult
'This obelisk is one huge deflector mechanism...'

Fabric Automatically Cools Or Insulates Based On Environment
'...a high-efficiency filter and heat-exchange system.'

Deepfakes From OpenAI GPT-2 Algorithm
'How can you compete with an IBM heavy-duty logomatic analogue?'

John Deere Self-Driving Tractor
'The huge plow... seemed to shake itself - and began to move back southward.'

North Focals Smart Glasses Provide Augmented Reality In Style
'The world ... is drenched in unfamiliar information all the way to the horizon.'

Tesla Driver Caught Napping Behind The Wheel
'Mary Risling settled back for a little nap...'

Hayabusa 2 To Begin Asteroid Mining
'We must dig down, and then doubtless we shall find the metal.'

Ionocraft Drone Powered By Electrohydrodynamic Thrust
'He saw one hiss by him as he rounded the corner, trailing a short whip antenna...'

Purdue Pharma Ready To Profit From OxyContin Use Or Addiction Recovery
'It may be organic damage. It may be permanent. Time'll tell, and only after you are off Substance D for a long while.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.