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Removing memories

Discussion in 'Neurosurgery' started by antetre, 12.16.11.

  1. antetre

    antetre

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    Hi. I was wondering if there where ever performed a surgery where someone had the part of the brain where a certain memory was located removed? If done, that would also mean that you would cut out surrounding memories or brain function. I have a particular memory that is ruining my life, and I would gladly sacrifice other brain function or memories for to have it removed. Preferably I would love to see Todd Sacktor's experiment with PKM Zeta inhibition in rats performed on humans (one of his studies: http://www.downstate.edu/pharmacology/faculty/sacktor.html). It effectively reset the surrounding neurons where the inhibitor was applied. Would any experimental surgeon with the patients consent be able to try this method? I'm considering gambling with ECT, but as far as I have learned, practitioners doesn't target specific memories with this practice. It's use isn't even meant to cause retrograde amnesia. If the PKMζ inhibition works on humans, the side effect would probably only mean that you had some set of neurons having a clean slate. ECT can cause brain damage, inner bleeding etc. Any insight? Thank you!
  2. phenylacetone

    phenylacetone

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    Outside of the ubiquitous TV trope, the technology to selectively remove specific memories is absolutely, unequivocally impossible in the present day. If it's theoretically possible (and this is impossible to say with current understanding of neurobiology), the technology isn't even on the furthest horizon. We'll have brain-computer interfaces and Moon bases sooner.
  3. antetre

    antetre

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    So if you located a memory with MRI, cutting out that area (along with other memories because of crude technique) would be impossible? For me it seems plausbile with a risk that is? Or is it hard to access parts of the brain that isn't on the surface of the brain?
  4. Gannador

    Gannador

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    Throwing someone in a fMRI and having them think about a memory does not demonstrate a pinpoint area of activity. Rather, a huge chunk of the brain lights up.
  5. tiedyeddog

    tiedyeddog

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    It won't work (and no body would do this for you, sorry.) Just watch this movie:

    [​IMG]
  6. antetre

    antetre

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    The video link isn't working.
    I'm not sure if anyone here is familiar with Todd Sacktors studies (which I briefly introduced in my first post). If it was that you had to apply this substance that removes memory but doesn't damage the neuron, would that be a whole different story than to remove brain matter?
  7. kitsunepixie

    kitsunepixie Kunoichi Extraordinare

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    *shakes head* Moving on...
  8. antetre

    antetre

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    Well I might see why you are shaking your head in response to removing the physical space where the memory is. I was in no way updated on how tuned surgery in the brain is.
    However I don't see why a substance like ZIP (ζ inhibitor peptide) wouldn't be applicable in the near future. If it works, it would certainly be a better solution for the patient wishing to experience memory loss than ECT.
  9. kitsunepixie

    kitsunepixie Kunoichi Extraordinare

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    Very likely that memory you want to erase is stored in different parts of your brain -- think about all the sensory modalities that involved with any particular memory--smell, sight, sound... When you recall an event, different parts of the brain light up like a Christmas tree. It would be impractical to surgically destroy all those areas.
    Last edited: 12.19.11
  10. antetre

    antetre

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    I see your point. But I think you make the assumption that the other parts involved is sufficient for you to remember the incident, and I'm not so sure you could look at neuronal networks like that. It might be easy for it to be erased, as if you unhook the first chain on the train. I'm not to say what is right though.
  11. ElCapone

    ElCapone Mafioso In Training

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    And there's an argument out there slowly gaining traction that fMRI =/= neuronal activity.

    1. How is memory stored?
    2. How will ZIP be specific to those certain locations where these memories are stored, assuming that they are stored in one spot?
    3. How does ZIP work?

    Hint hint: The more you learn about the brain, the more you realize that your previous assumptions about it were horribly wrong. And then you make new assumptions, learn more and then realize how wrong those assumptions were too.
    Last edited: 12.19.11
  12. antetre

    antetre

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    Well I didn't assume that the memory only was stored at one place, and that only one part of the brain was responsible of recalling it in its detail. Nor that brain scanning could point it out with incredible precession. My knowledge isn't sufficient enough to go into the molecular mechanisms behind memory storage.
    I've only read abstracts and seen this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztdMKznJFR4
    Also parts of this, but I find it hard to follow: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3azByykgfl8
    His study is groundbreaking in the field of memory storage, that's why it is applicable in this scenario.
    It has been tried on different types of memory in mammals.
  13. GreatSaphenous

    GreatSaphenous Member

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    The treatment for bad memories isn't surgical, its medical. I believe its called alcohol.

    :troll:
  14. antetre

    antetre

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    Haha. Well it doesn't work that well yet, maybe it gets better?

    Hey. I'm no troll.
  15. ElCapone

    ElCapone Mafioso In Training

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  16. Gannador

    Gannador

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    Well, I think it has never been thought of as directly an indicator of neuronal activity, but rather an approximation through an indirect measurement such as blood flow or metabolic activity. Are you saying that there is an argument out there saying that such an approximation is false? I hadn't heard that, and would be most sad if it turned out to be true seeing as I just submitted a proposal using fMRI for a $28,000 grant.
  17. Montisumo

    Montisumo

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    Removing memories by removing physical brain tissue is IMPOSSIBLE. Im a neuroscientist and I can tell you for fact that memories are not stored in 1 particular brain region. It is true that if you damage certain regions (MTL/hippocampus) you lose short term memories and the ability to remember recent events (anterograde amnesia), similarly, if you damage non-MTL and cortical structures you lose the ability to remember long term events (retrograde amnesia). HOWEVER, memories are not stored in 1 brain regions, rather, many brain regions cooperate to mediate memory recall. It has been, is, and will be impossible to specific erasse memories by surgery. We still have NO IDEA what a memory is.

    The best advice I can give you is to seek help from a psychologist (not psychiatrist= medication). Psychologists can help you to remove the anxiety associated with a past event, thereby "removing the negative emotion" associated with it.

    Look up cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), that is probably what will benefit you a lot.
  18. Montisumo

    Montisumo

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    BTW fMRI does not measure brain activity, rather, it is a measure of cerebral blood flow. fMRI measures the paramagnetic properties of the oxy:hungover:eoxyhemoglobin ratio. Basically, fMRI measures how "magnetic" blood is in order to edetermine whether blood is oxygenated or not thereby calculating the "activity" of brain tissue in the area around the local blood vessels.

    When you see brain areas "light up" on scans you are just seeing that those brain regions have deoxygenatred blood because the neurons are using up that oxygen due to increased metabolism (=activity). There are so many disadvantages of this technique that all results must be interpreted with caution... Just wikipedia fMRI and you'll see what I mean.

    Anyways, fMRI does not tell you where memories are localized because fMRI only measures magnetic properties of blood, nothing more, nothing less. BTW, any 1 memory is localized all over your brain.
  19. pre med 2014

    pre med 2014 SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor

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    It is never a good idea to do brain surgery to fix bad thoughts.

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