Scientists have erased and reactivated memories in rats, profoundly altering the animals’ reaction to past events.
According to researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, they selectively remove a memory and predictably reactivate it by stimulating nerves in the brain.
Roberto Malinow, MD, PhD, professor of neurosciences and senior author of the study, said:
“We can form a memory, erase that memory and we can reactivate it, at will, by applying a stimulus that selectively strengthens or weakens synaptic connections.”
Sadegh Nabavi, a postdoctoral researcher in the Malinow lab and the study’s lead author, said:
“We can cause an animal to have fear and then not have fear and then to have fear again by stimulating the nerves at frequencies that strengthen or weaken the synapses.”