Forget bad memories with these pills  8 years ago

Forget bad memories with these pills

Scientists are on track to create a pill that could help ease the pain of bad memories.

Some brainy people from Leicester University have been studying what makes us feel pain through our memories. Now they believe that by singling out a certain protein in the brain, they could help to reduce trauma associated with bad memories. But don’t get too excited though, as the pill doesn’t look likely to hit the shelves for at least 10 years.

The researches found that a protein called lipocalin-2 is produced in the brain in order to calm us down when we’re on edge. Mice genetically engineered to be unable to make the protein, lipocalin-2, reacted to stress more severely than other animals.

The brains of the mice that lacked the protein had different ways of commutating between brain-cells, compared to mice that had the protein.

Mice that were lacking the protein had more ‘mushroom-shaped’ junctions - key to learning and consolidating memories - according to the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Mushroom-shaped junctions help us remember things we once learned, however they often remind us of bad things that happened in our past. They don’t say you learn from you’re mistakes for nothing.

Lead researcher Dr Robert Pawlak said, “Some very stressful events would better be forgotten quickly or they may result in anxiety disorders. There is a constant battle of forces in our brain to help maintain the right balance of thin and mushroom spines – or how much to remember and what better to forget.”

They researchers are working to see if a pill that encourages lipocalin-2 in the brain would relieve the stresses involved with bad memories and even depression.

Dutch researchers recently discovered that beta-blocker drugs used to treat heart disease could also help patients to banish bad memories, according to the Daily Mail.

[Image via Sacks08 - Flicker Creative Commons]