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Japan: Kyoto University investigates a method to erase memory through flashes

Perhaps one of the most remembered concepts in the film Men in Black (Men in Black), beyond the aliens, is the “Neuralizer“, a “electro biomechanical neurotransmitter antisynaptic repositioning device”That emits a light that erases the memory of the person on whom it was used. Few imagined at that time that the first investigations on a similar mechanics would begin from Japan.

A recent study from the University of Kyoto in Japan has complicated things a bit with its recent research in mice. The results were published on November 11 in an article for the portal Science titled “Stepwise synaptic plasticity events drive the early phase of memory consolidation (Staggered synaptic plasticity events drive the initial phase of memory consolidation)”And where it was reported that scientists managed to relax the newly created synapses (the neural connections responsible for the formation of memories).

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The study consisted of the mice learning that if they entered a dark chamber attached to their bright habitat, they would receive an electric shock. The mice learned that they would receive a shock upon entering, and so they became cautious and fearful around the camera obscura. Those who had their memories undone with the treatment, on the other hand, entered the dark chamber happily as if they had never been exposed to it.

They achieved this result using a protein derived from sea anemones that produce destructive oxygen atoms in response to exposure to light. This protein was introduced into mice by a harmless virus, after editing the protein to reduce the damaging effects of oxygen atoms. Instead of damaging neural pathways, they now just relax them, preventing newly formed memories from being accessed.

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New memories are created from the experience, such as that of mice entering the dark room and receiving a shock. These memories are transferred through the brain through sleep, where they enter long-term memory. In the case of this experiment, a mouse was injected with the protein Supernova modified and an optic fiber was inserted into the brain to stimulate it with light. After being placed in the shock chamber with other control mice, this mouse was stimulated with light just after receiving the shock to erase the newly learned information. After sleeping and returning to the room, he did not show fear like the other mice.

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The scientists also tried erasing memory in another way, casting a light onto another part of the brain, which summons more distant memories. Two days after the learning experience, they managed to erase what the mouse had learned. However, after 25 days, too much time had passed and the memories had consolidated in the brain. Using knowledge derived from previous experiments, the twelve authors of this study (Akihiro goto, Ayaka Boot, Ken miya, Jingbo Wang, Suzune Tsukamoto, Xinzhi Jiang, Daichi hirai, Masanori murayama, Tomoki matsuda, Thomas J. McHugh, Takeharu nagai and Yasunori hayashi) successfully demonstrated that long-term memory formation can be stopped or even reversed in a localized period.

Source: Science via SoraNews24 | Japan

© 2021 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All rights reserved.

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