Israelis discover how to erase long-term memory

Sunday, August 19, 2007 |  by Staff Writer

Israeli scientists have isolated the part of the brain that stores long-term memories and have successfully erased those memories in a clinical test conducted on rats.

The study was led by Dr. Yadin Dudai of the Weizmann Institute of Science, who told Reuters the “research is important because it casts light on the mechanisms of memory.”

Dudai also said the tests proved that “long-term memory is not a permanent change” and can be edited and erased.

Dudai and his team conducted their test by feeding rats doses of saccharine, which made the rodents sick and taught them to associate the taste with not feeling well.

The rats were then injected with an enzyme inhibitor that blocked the a particular protein that controls the flow of information involving memories.

Following the injection, the rats did not remember the association with saccharine and ingested the substance without hesitation.

In the short term, the discovery will help to treat patients suffering from dementia. Dudai hopes that it will also lead to greater understanding of how the brain handles information, thereby allowing researchers to discover a way to boost memory.

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