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Hope for finding lost memories

Migrated Account
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How many times have you said, "If only I could remember...." There are things I've learned and/or experienced that I wish I could remember. I've given up trying to find those lost memories and have relegated them to the dustbin of "Stuff I've Forgotten." There may be hope on the horizon for finding those lost jewels we'd like to remember.

In some recent research using mice, they were able to stimulate previously learned emotional responses that had been suppressed/eliminated. Here is a link to the story. If this could be done in humans, what might this mean for us or people with dementia-type disorders? Could I recall the foreign language I learned in college that I've long since forgotten? Could it improve eye-witness testimony in trials? Would we be more honest with ourselves or others?

Let me know your thoughts, ideas, and comments.

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Macmillan Employee
Macmillan Employee

This is incredibly exciting.  While there is advice bombarding us on how to keep our memories strong - and warnings about what havoc the Internet is wrecking on our ability to form new strings of memory - this is the first I've heard that we might be able to recover memories that have already been lost.  The implications for a population with a steadily increasing lifespan are wonderful!

Migrated Account

This research group is doing some amazing work with far reaching implications. Next week, I was going to share an article about some of their other work, but I couldn't wait to share it with you.

The RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan is also researching models of mental illness in mice using the blue light technology. In a recent study, they provided male mice with a pleasurable experience (yes, female mice were involved) and isolated the location of the memories that were generated as a result of the experience. Then they gave the male mice a stressful experience which resulted in depression-like symptoms. As you might have guessed by now, they activated the pleasurable memories using the blue light technique. The depression symptoms immediately stopped. After giving the blue light treatment everyday for five days resulted in a permanent remission of symptoms. Interestingly, when another group of stressed mice were reintroduced to the pleasurable situation with the female mice, their symptoms did not improve.

Intrigued? Here is a link to the BBC story covering this study. Within the article is a link to the original article in Nature.

Thank you for your post!!

About the Author
Dr. Yamazaki has been involved in adult education since the mid-1980's. She has developed technology-based education for the Air Force, commercial industry, and for higher education. She is certified in instruction systems design. She has taught courses for the Air Force and at community college, college, and university institutions. She was awarded the teaching excellence award at the US Air Force Academy as an instructor for the behavioral sciences. In her work with Macmillan Higher Education, she works with educators and editorial to consult on the development of educational products, services, and experiences for higher education.