Summary of the Article ''Principal Memories Could Be Erased''

by rosalielabeaume on October 28, 2017 - 2:11pm

Principal Memories Could Be Erased

Many scientists like Sheena Josselyn, a senior scientist in the department of physiology of the Hospital for Sick Children at the University of Toronto in Canada, declared in a news briefing during the 2017 AAAS Annual Meeting that fear based memories prompted by the sound could be erased. They tested the technique with highly technological methods on brain mice cells. They triggered the memory with an electric shock and successfully erased it. The tests haven't been made on humans until this day because the project is still at a very experimental level and it could raise serious ethical considerations. The memories that the scientists want to erase with this technique is post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD and disordered memories associated with drug use. There is cells in the brain that are called ''place cells'' and they have the ability to store memories within time and space. That is why new and old memories are not store the same way in the brain.How the treatment would work in humans is that the specifics cell that has the memory encoded would be turn off by a pill of another sort of  medication. Scientists have been successful with mice. It's like the memory had been erased. The mouse could not remember.Of course the methods used on mice is not applicable to humans because of how we construct our memories. Memories in human are much more complex than in mice. Only a limited number of cell are implicated  in memories and so erasing a memory could affect the other ones. Scientist need to find a method to be able to target one specific cells and turn it off to make the process feasible for humans.The treatment would only be use for people who struggle on a daily bases because we learn from our good and bad memories.

Personally, I am very concerned, just like the scientists, of the ethical implication of the project. If you erased someone's memory, you will definitely change this person forever. The psychological impacts are going to be really big. Just imagine not remembering you went to war but then everyone is telling you that you did. It would feel like you just passed out for a certain period of your life. Also, PTSD has been successfully treated with therapy, Even if it can be hard, I am not sure that it is better to just shut our eyes and forget instead of facing what happened. We just like to surgically remove bad emotion instead of facing it. Adversity is important and can make you stronger and teach you many things. Also, the text was well written and easy to follow but the information could have been more complete. The description of the project was very blear. Also the scientits mentionned in the texte could have used a little more description and maybe a background of what they worked on in the past.


I agree with you, memories are a great part of who we are. Erasing them would be like erasing a part of our personality. Great summary!

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Greetings rosalielabeaume. You took on a tough subject to explain! The notion of 'place cells' is so fascinating. Thank you for sharing this with us. Sometimes with such subjects, it is hard to communicate clearly the details because of minor errors in grammar (e.g. article use, adjective order: 'prompted by the sound' should be 'prompted by sound' and 'brain mice cells' should be 'mice brain cells'.) but you do a great job inspite of these slip-ups. Also, as you point out, it seems like the method used by the scientists wasn't explained very clearly in the article. In such a controversial issue, it certainly would be helpful to formulate a better opinion on the subject by having more information! That goes to show that even the scientific community (i.e. has something to learn in improving writing skills. Especially, as was seen in the assignment too, summarizing complex scientific notions in easy to understand shorthand can be a great challenge. Great job highlighting this!

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