Enhancing or suppressing our memories seem to be something impossible, however, according to a new study, scientists have made this possible by stimulating the brain.
As per a new study, scientists claim that the brain can be stimulated to enhance positive emotions linked to memories and suppress the negative ones, something that can potentially make traumatic memories less powerful.
The study focused on the hippocampus – area in brain that stories information making up a person’s good or bad memories. This region contains further sub-regions that work together to create various elements of each specific memory, reported Tech Times.
The team suggested that traumatic memories can be manipulated if they know the regions of the hippocampus to stimulate. The team used optogenetics for identifying the hippocampus cells becoming activated when male mice are making positive, negative or neutral memories. By finding the cells involved in the memory-making process, they stimulated the same cells using laser light to either suppress or enhance the feelings linked to memories.
Stimulating the memory cells at the bottom of the hippocampus caused fear and anxiety-related behavioral changes, whereas the ones at the top seem to function like exposure therapy as it reduces the emotional trauma of bad memories and makes them more bearable to recall.
Author Steve Ramirez said that the research suggested that the bottom part of the hippocampus could be overactive when memories become too emotionally loaded and debilitating. Also, treatments for conditions like PTSD could eventually be developed by suppressing overactivity in this part of the brain, as per Science Daily.
Moreover, though the concept in long way from being able to do in humans, the findings, published in Current Biology, could be further used to develop effective treatments for people suffering from PTSD, depression, anxiety and such other conditions.