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Engineered "Memory" Virus Giveth & Taketh Away

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posted on Mar, 6 2011 @ 01:02 AM
After the "Zombie Ant" thread I ran across this. While I can see definite benefits if this could work successfully on humans, I also see a dangerous slippery slope.

Memories fade with time, often to the annoyance of those who can’t recall important details. But scientists have now found a way to boost the recall of memories even after they’ve started to fade. Unfortunately, the method involves injecting an engineered virus directly into the brain, so those of us who are bad with names may want to wait a bit for the technique to be refined.

The work was done in rats, and the memories in question are associations between a specific taste — saccharine, for example — and an unpleasant stimulus, caused by injection of a nausea-inducing drug (the approach is called “conditioned taste aversion”). Unless the unpleasant association is reinforced, the memories will slowly fade with time, although the aversion doesn’t disappear entirely during the two-week period that the authors were looking at.

This would be huge for people suffering from dimentia. Though injecting a virus directly into the brain doesn't exactly induce feelings of comfort. It sounds dangerously risky to my unscientific brain.

Two years ago, the same authors found that it was possible to radically accelerate this fading. By injecting a chemical that blocked a specific brain enzyme (protein kinase M ζ), the authors caused the rats to act as if they had never experienced the nausea, even if the memory manipulation took place 25 days after the conditioning. Most chemicals that interfere with memories tend to prevent them from being consolidated for long-term storage, but this chemical seemed to work even after the memory was firmly in place.

This part is the most worrying one IMHO. The "radically accelerated fading" of memories brings thoughts of MKUltra, and opens the doors to all kinds of issues. I am unaware of any vigilante mice, so I assume the ultimate goal of this study is to eventually perfect it for the human population. Tbis virus was able to wipe the memory of the mouse even after it was set firmly in place.

If this were to hold true later in humans then that means our entire memory could be wiped... Not just the short term memories.

They do say it is premature to consider this for treatment of dementia etc. It appears to be doing well in the mice though. While this may never make it to market as a successful treatment for any human, the fact that it seems just over the horizon could give one pause to think of how it could be usedand/or abused. The power to give memories back and take them away is amazing regardless.

You can read more here...

edit on 3/6/2011 by Kangaruex4Ewe because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 6 2011 @ 01:03 AM
Man, you've gotta feel bad for these laboratory animals...

posted on Mar, 6 2011 @ 02:11 AM
reply to post by v1rtu0s0

I thought about that as I was reading the article. While thinking of how this could affect us, I felt bad that it was already affecting them.

posted on Mar, 6 2011 @ 02:15 AM
at least its semi positive work..... kinda

better mice than us guys..

MKULTRA any one???

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