Richard G. Petty, MD

Erasing Your Neurological Hard Drive

Did you ever see the movie Total Recall, and wondered if it might really be possible to erase someone’s memory and implant a new one? Well, that might just be a little closer than most people realize.

One of the mechanisms of the storage of memories in the brain is thought ot involve a process known as long-term potentiation (LTP), that strengthens synaptic connections between neurons. The mechanism of LTP has been a mystery, but recently it was discovered that there is a biochemical pathway that utliizes something called an atypical protein kinase C isoform,  protein kinase Mzeta (PKMz), that seems to be a key player in LTP.

New research from a team at  SUNY Downstate Medical Center, in Brooklyn, New York, using a PKMz inhibitor reverses LTP and produces persistent loss of 1-day-old spatial information, proving that PKMz is crucial to laying down memories in the brain.

There are many ways of losing memory. Apart from being belabored about the head and shoulders with a stout cudgel, alcohol and benzodiazepines are all fairly reliable ways of causing transient memory loss. But they also may fail, and each may have other unpleasant consequences.

But this is different: undestanding the basic mechanism of memory formation may enable us to obliterate unpleasant or wanwanted memories in conditions like chronic pain and posttraumatic stress disorder. It may also help us understand something more about the mysteries of illnesses like Alzheimer’s and Dementia of Lewy Body type, in which memory can be lost.

But it is also important to keep an eye on this research. I would not like either a government or a corporation to have a way reliably to erase our memories.

Though I’ve often thought that I’d quite like to have one of those little Neutralizers that they had in Men in Black…..

About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

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