7 thoughts on “In Future, Science Could Erase Traumatic Memories”

  1. I’m not going to discount this entirely. PTSD really fucks people up and in some cases destroys their ability to lead any kind of normal life. Maybe this will actually help.

  2. Hey, Bret.

    So I have PTSD. I have a strain of it called “Amnesiac PTSD” which means I can’t recall the actual traumatic event, but I do experience all the symptoms (triggers, regression, panic attacks) of PTSD.

    Thus far, all successful treatments of PTSD involve recalling the event and integrating it into the patient’s normal memory, so it ceases to be a trauma and starts just being a part of their experience that they can cope with in a non-traumatized fashion. There have been huge breakthroughs in treatment in the last ten years, and it’s really exciting for, say, me.

    So I’m really skeptical about this particular treatment. It seems to me that leaving a big gaping hole in your memory (rather like the one I have) is not actually going to effectively treat PTSD, or at least will cause enough other problems that it isn’t worth the treatment.

    That said, it’s a popular science article, and what the drug actually does may be far more like the treatments I describe above (which I know include some drugs) than what the article says.


  3. I seem to recall this concept going around — or at least the rat/trauma/myelin experiment — a couple of years back.

    I’m as suspicious of Ben that the *loss* of a traumatic memory would be a meaningful therapy.

    My bigger concern is that this means, assuming that it works as advertised, that the way to erase someone’s memory of an event is to make it traumatic. Like, let’s say we torture you, then remove the memory of the torture.

  4. I’m pretty sure this article is referring to the kinds of treatment Ben is mentioning, and the ‘journalists’ have misunderstood what the researchers are after.
    I’ve seen one treatment which uses drugs as part of the integration process that Ben describes, and that treatment was described in several sources as “drug that erases memories” (and even found its way onto a Boston Legal episode) when it did no such thing.

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