Defusing the memory of fear.


A recent method to dispel the memory of fear in rats, combined with existing therapies, will perhaps one day people overcome their fears without using drugs researchers suggest.

Marie Monfils and his colleagues have discovered that applying a standard treatment of extinction, sometimes used in humans to rats immediately after they remember a fear could reduce the memory of that fear. The researchers conducted a series of experiments in which they fear induced in rats by producing a sound and giving them shortly after electric shock. The sound reminded then animals feel pain.

When this association was still recent in the minds of rats, researchers found that they do hear a long series of electric shocks without his partner could destabilize the memory of fear of rats and replaced by a more benign. The treated rats showed less fear, it is induced by sound or by the shock itself, and also less chance that the initial memory returned spontaneously.

This technique seems to finally drive the memory of fear without the use of drug products. It is possible that it may one day be used in humans to treat certain psychiatric disorders and overcome the fear-related memories

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