How to Forget Things That Hurt?

The doctors from Montreal have declared war to painful memories. Their main weapon is the medicine that lowers the level of the cortisol hormone in the blood. This hormone is associated with stress – and thus with the memories people would be glad to get rid of.

Bad Memories

The scientists believe that learning to control the hormone can weaken bad memories. 33 volunteers took part in the experiment. They were asked to remember a story – a sequence of neutral and negative events. Three days later, the participants were divided into three groups. The volunteers from the first group were given metirapone (the medication which inhibits the synthesis of cortisol). The other group received a double dose of the same medication. The people from the third group were given placebo.

After receiving metirapone, the participants were asked to recall and retell the story memorized by them. Four days after taking the medicine, metirapone had already been removed from the body, and the volunteers were asked to recall the story. It turned out that the participants of the study who had been receiving a double dose of “medicine for bad memories”, could not recall the episodes of negative stories, but easily recalled neutral events. After 4 days, the memories did not return.

The scientists intend to continue studying drugs that can affect memory. This should help to treat severe psychological traumas.

Source of the image: Photl.