Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Scientists Discover Pill That Could Erase Bad Memories

These days doctors seem to have a pill for everything. Now, researchers have discovered a pill that could erase bad memories.

Researchers say that the pill could be helpful in getting rid of painful memories in people with post-traumatic stress disorder.

For the study, 60 participants were shown pictures of spiders and taught to connect that with mild shock, thus creating a negative memory. Afterwards, they were given either a beta-blocker called propranolol or a placebo.

Twenty-four hours later, the propranolol group’s negative memory of spiders was greatly decreased compared to the placebo group. Their fearful response did not come back, which means that the memory may have been completely erased.

There are, however, some people that question these types of treatments. “An interesting complexity is the possibility that victims, say of violence, might wish to erase the painful memory and with it their ability to give evidence against assailants,” said professor John Harris, an expert in biological ethics at the University of Manchester. “Similarly criminals and witnesses to crime may, under the guise of erasing a painful memory, render themselves unable to give evidence.”

Do you think this pill could be used against some people? Could a person use the pill on another person in order to erase something terrible they did to them?

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