Imagine being able to erase a traumatic memory, cure an addiction, or treat dementia and other memory problems, all with a simple drug. It may one day be possible to do just that, the New York Times reports: U.S. researchers are working on an experimental drug that, when delivered to specific areas of the brain, blocks a substance that helps retain learned information—a so-called “memory molecule” that helps neurons communicate with each other, thus forming memories. The creation of a “memory blocking drug” raises huge ethical questions, as scientists note it could be used to block memories of bad behaviours, ending feelings of guilt that form the basis of a moral conscience. They also worry it might actually make drug use more widespread, as addiction would be easier to treat. Even so, the drug holds enormous possibilities. The research has only been done in animals so far, but the team expects it to work similarly in humans.
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