Most people try to hold on to their memories, but for those suffering from trauma or drug addiction, memory is a terrible burden. In a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience
, researchers think they have made great strides in targeting and destroying memories. Their work focuses on the protein kinase M
(PKM). By blocking the activity of PKM, the researchers found they could erase long-term memories.
And here's where the snails come in: When attacked by a predator, they become acutely sensitive to outside stimuli, learning about the situation. By targeting individual neurons, scientists say they were able to erase these memories. David Glanzman
, who authored the study, says that the snails are a valuable analogue for the study.
Almost all the processes that are involved in memory in the snail also have been shown to be involved in memory in the brains of mammals[.]
The researchers hope that their neuron-by-neuron approach could give them greater control over memory erasure, perhaps one day helping those whose memories continue to hurt them.
(Livescience via io9, image via Wikipedia)