Some quotes from a magazine I pulled [bought] from the shelf just today:
HOW CAN YOU GET RID OF A MEMORY AFTER IT IS IMPRINTED IN THE BRAIN? When a memory is formed it is consolidated, but each time it's retrieved it becomes unstable again. This allows you to update the memory. Let's say you meet someone at a party, you form a memory of them, and a week later you hear gossip about that person. Now you retrieve the memory and store it with new information. In experiments with animals, if we retrieve a memory and inject a drug that blocks the molecular process that leads to storage, the memory is lost.
SO PEOPLE MIGHT POP A PILL TO GET RID OF ANXIETY OR BAD MEMORIES? Rather than injecting drugs, our lab injects new content into a memory, updating it with non-fearful information. When we lose control over fear, distorted emotions interfere with our lives. Reducing fear has implications for treating post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias, and addiction.
Five Questions For Daniela Schiller [3rd & 4th question], DISCOVER MAGAZINE, November 2009, p. 20
I found that article interesting (it's only one page long) because it started out talking about fear. What it said about memory was particularly interesting, to me. Not solely because I work with dementia clients from time to time, but on account of fear and trauma and the ways it can lead to various conditions. Including post traumatic stress. What I took note of was the possibility of restoring a memory with new information. It wasn't exactly clear to me what was meant by "... our lab injects new content into a memory." But I don't exactly care. It was the reminder, such a thing is possible, that I found really fascinating. There are probably many different ways to do this. Retrieve a memory and change it. I'm eager to explore ways to do this.
Has anybody found other methods that work for them? Heard about methods that render a similar effect?
P.S. I really hate to quote something out of context. Not give the rest of the story. In this case though, I decided not to type out the whole article (that way you can check it out for yourself). However, I feel that since I quoted the story (by Amy Barth) I should at least mention something about the person she was questioning. This is from the beginning of the article:
Daniela Schiller served in the Israeli army, but it was not until she went parachuting during college that she truly understood the power of fear. Now she is building on that epiphany as a postdoc at New York University, studying memory and fear with leading neuroscientists Elizabeth Phelps and Joseph LeDoux.
Daniela also plays drums in a rock band