Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Bad Memories? Take a Pill!

Oh brave new world....

Shaun Saunders sent in an article from BBC News documenting a startling side effect to a common heart medication.

From the article:
  • Dutch investigators believe beta-blocker drugs could help people suffering from the emotional after-effects of traumatic experiences. They believe these heart medications alters how memories are recalled.
  • In the study, the researchers artificially created a fearful memory by associating pictures of spiders with a mild electric shock delivered to the wrists of the volunteers. A day later the volunteers were split into two groups - one was given the beta blocker propranolol and the other a dummy drug before both were shown the same pictures again. The group that had taken beta blockers showed less fear than the group that had taken the placebo pill. The following day, once the drug was out of their system, the volunteers were retested. Once again, those who had taken the beta blocker were less startled by the images.

British researchers however are concerned about the ethics involved in such a study - worrying that the procedure might alter "good" memories as well. Memories are used by the brain to form basic behavioral responses, even in early learning environments. The concern is that toying with the preliminary phase of the process may have unforeseen consequences later on.

Read more of this article click here


Shaun A. Saunders said...

For those who are interested, revisit 'The Best Things In Life', which played on BMU show 96.

Beam Me Up said...

another DUH on my part Shaun...thanks