Alzheimer's Disease and other Dementias
Senior Health

Memories Can Be Lost - And Found

Scientists have identified a process in the brain that may eventually lead to new treatments for people with memory problems.

The finding, published in the journal Nature Communications, was made by a team of researchers from Cardiff University in the UK.

The investigators found that reminders could reverse the amnesia caused by methods previously thought to produce total memory loss in rats.

“Previous research in this area found that when you recall a memory it is sensitive to interference to other information and in some cases is completely wiped out. Our research challenges this view and we believe proves this not the case,” according to Dr Kerrie Thomas, who led the research. “Our research found that despite using a technique in the brain thought to produce total amnesia we’ve been able to show that with strong reminders, these memories can be recovered.”

Although the technique was tested on rats, the investigators hope that it will work on humans as well.

Whilst the results were found in rats, the team hope it can be translated into humans and new drugs and treatments could be developed for people suffering with memory disorders.

“This is an exciting prospect in terms of treating psychiatric illness associated with memory disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia and psychosis,” Thomas said. “We can now devise new drugs or behavioral strategies that can treat these memory problems in the knowledge that we won’t overwrite our experiences.”

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