Erase Memories, Because… “Why Not?”

Ripped directly from the headlines of tomorrow comes the announcement that men in black are indeed here now. Never fear though. A bit of future technology, now well into the experimental phase, has effectively been used on test subjects to wipe selective memories.

According to an article in sciencemag.org,

We have shown previously that lateral amygdala (LA) neurons with increased cyclic adenosine monophosphate response element–binding protein (CREB) are preferentially activated by fear memory expression, which suggests that they are selectively recruited into the memory trace. We used an inducible diphtheria-toxin strategy to specifically ablate these neurons.

…Or in lay-speak, “See that bit of brain there? When I scooped it out, he didn’t remember anymore. Cool, huh?”

Wow, how’s that work?

Because memories are found in specific collections of neurons, haphazardly zig-zagging the brain, and digging around in the brain is kind of hard (it’s brain surgery, not simple rocket science), finding the particular cells that carry a memory is like finding a needle in an active volcano.

This new development, however, uses a CREB protein as a marker, dropping the difficulty to finding a needle in a hive of fire-ants. This highlights the role of a particular neuron bundle in a memory (snip, easy as circumcision), and suddenly Uncle Rick is no longer lobbing coffee cups at Thanksgiving dinner when the electric carver reminds him of Charlie back in ‘Nam.

Now, when it comes to memory, we’ve seen how to fix it in the elderly, implant fake memories for entertaining the kids, and even develop photographic recollection, but now: Eternal Sunshine, Total Recall, Memento; take your pick. On Monday, how bout Jason Bourne-ing” the shit out of your parents and when they start to suspect they’re super-soldiers, leap out with an “April Fools, you’re actually a middle-class suburbanite!!!” Get’s ’em every time.

Joking aside, obviously the ramifications of this new procedure are staggering, and the potential for… wait… What was I talking about?

Fun side-note:

Anyway. Almost totally unrelated (segways are for chumps), something you won’t want to forget: kick-start you day being serenaded in Portuguese by a dimply Brazilian girl. Easier to greet the world with a smile…

Sources:

Selective Erasure of a Fear Memory (sciencemag.org)

Erasing a Memory Reveals the Neurons that Encode it (discovermagazine.com)

Computers Sustain and Improve Mind and Memory of the Elderly (wondergressive.com)

Controlling Dreams and Implanting Memories (wondergressive.com)

Experiments in Photographic Memory (Phase 1: Guinea Pig) (wondergressive.com)

Felicidade – Marcelo Jeneci (youtube.com)

The Big Bang Wasn’t the Beginning

A team of physicists are now hypothesizing that the big bang may not have been the beginning of the universe.  They believe that the big bang is instead the start of a phase change, like liquid water suddenly cooling to form solid ice.

The theory gets really interesting as the physicists discuss potential cracks in the universe like the cracks that form in actual ice.  One of the researchers, Quach, explained that the universe can be thought of “as being like a liquid, then as the universe cools, it ‘crystallises’ into the three spatial and one time dimension that we see today. Theorized this way, as the universe cools, we would expect that cracks should form, similar to the way cracks are formed when water freezes into ice.” 

The theory postulates that space and time are emerging properties of the universe that did not always exist.  The theory’s  math holds up, but even if the physicists do find the ‘cracks’ only time will tell whether the theory is even partially correct.  A whole lot of time.  And by that time a wholly other set of properties may emerge making the notion of time moot.

As for now, it’s certainly fun to consider.

Isn’t mystery just awesome?