Monday, November 29, 2010

Science Fiction Becomes Science Fact?

In the truly amazing film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, characters are able to have their memories erased. Sounds scary and impossible, right? Well it maybe not any more. According to this story, scientists think that they might have discovered a way to make it happen.

From the story –
But now the fantastical journey can be seen as a cautionary tale. Scientists believe that they've figured out how to manipulate the brain and erase memories.

Time reports that researchers at Johns Hopkins University think that by removing proteins from the brain's fear center, they can permanently erase memories. This isn't to stylishly morph memories at the whim of the rich, but rather "to enhance behavioral therapy for such conditions as post-traumatic stress disorder."

Naturally, the cons of this procedure are being shouted loud and clear. Kate Farinholt, executive director of the mental health support group NAMI says: "Erasing a memory and then everything bad built on that is an amazing idea, and I can see all sorts of potential. But completely deleting a memory, assuming it's one memory, is a little scary. How do you remove a memory without removing a whole part of someone's life, and is it best to do that, considering that people grow and learn from their experiences?" Paul Root Wolpe, director for the Center for Ethics at Emory also fears the potential: "it's a troublesome idea to begin to be able to manipulate that, even if for the best of motives."

I hope that this never comes to fruition.

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