Friday, 13 July 2007

Can people "forget" unhappy memories?

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I've read that when someone recalls a traumatic event, the emotions connected to that event are just as real as the day it first happened. That's what makes conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety so debilitating. But a recent study may someday open the door to a new kind of therapy that lets sufferers actually bury disturbing images and memories to allow themselves to heal.

Because the study didn't involve traumatic events that had actually happened to the participants, it's too early to say whether the findings will translate into care of patients, but during the study participants were able to "turn down" activity of their visual cortex, where images of events are stored in the brain. After actively working to block a disturbing image from their memory, participants in the study could train themselves to no longer associate an image with those memories.

Read more about the full study here.

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