Spotless mind: Manipulating the brain to rewrite memories

 作者:金靛绕     |      日期:2017-08-15 05:35:02
Richard Wilkinson By Helen Phillips LOUISE had been haunted by his face for 30 years. Racked with anxiety, she could barely sleep. When she did, horrific memories of being raped, aged 12, by her doctor spilled into nightmares. Then, after a single, experimental treatment, the haunting stopped. Louise is one of an increasing number of people who have been helped by techniques that seem to free individuals from the torments of a traumatic memory. Those who have been raped are not the only ones to benefit. Soldiers haunted by visions of war and survivors of terror attacks and natural disasters are being helped by pills, electric shocks, even video games. And as we continue to learn about how our brains form and maintain memories, far more might be possible. The focus until now has been on removing a memory’s emotional sting, but we might also excise entire memories at will, or even recover ones wiped out by Alzheimer’s disease. “We can break into the time machine and really reverse-engineer it, hijack it or jump-start it,” says Steve Ramirez at Harvard University. “We can really try to fix memories.” Memories are physically imprinted on your brain. If you remember any of this article in a few days’ time, it’s down to changes in how your brain is wired. Over a number of hours or a night’s sleep, your initial memory is consolidated for long-term storage by a suite of genes,