Scientists say they've found a way to disrupt the formation of fearful memory associations in mice. Writing in the journal Science, the team of researchers describe their work targeting neurons in expressing a certain gene, CREB, in the amygdalas of genetically-engineered mice. By targeting those neurons, the researchers found that they could erase the associations involved in a fearful memory event -- the mice would still remember the traumatic event itself and the trigger sound that preceded it, but would no longer associate those two events in their mind.
The treatment worked even days after the fearful association had been learned. Although this work is in its very early stages, the work could one day help people with post-traumatic stress disorder recover from their trauma. People with PTSD often experience many fearful learned associations -- a car backfiring, for instance, might evoke a battlefield trauma.
We'll talk with one of the researchers on the project about the work, and our understanding of how memories are formed and stored.
Produced by Charles Bergquist, Director and Contributing Producer