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When Real Life and Science Fiction Collide -or- Holy Crap!!!

April 6, 2009

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind here we come:

“Brain Researchers Open Door to Editing Memory”, NY Times 4/5/09

Focusing on a Memory Molecule

Focusing on a Memory Molecule

Neuroscientists at the SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn now have a drug that blocks the activity of PKMzeta, a substance the brain needs to retain much of its learned information.

In other words, scientists can now wilfully erase memories!

On the one hand, you can finally be free of your Krispy Kreme addiction, but you could also unlearn the awful consequences of that time you shoplifted and therefore do it all over again. Memory, after all, is the foundation of a moral conscience.

More importantly, would you still be you in the absence of even some of your memories?

Forget about stem cell research and the gene-therapy debate, here comes personality therapy and a whole new barrage of ethical dilemmas.

Anyway,  for those of us already kept up at night by horror stories of mis-amputated limbs, locked-in syndrome and other medical malfunctions, this might not be a procedure worth the risk. Malpractice insurance not-withstanding.

Although, should they come up with a reverse drug that reinforces instead of blocks PKMzeta, I’ll be able to learn Portuguese as fast as I can read a grammar book. Not quite The Matrix yet, but it seems we’re getting there…

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