Editing memories in the brain a la the clinical procedure seen in Eternal Sunshine Spotless Mind will probably remain in the realm of science fiction. But that may change in the foreseeable future, as scientists have discovered a protein in the brain that may be the key to erasing traumatic memories.
Researchers at Cambridge University have discovered a so-called “shank” protein that functions as a scaffold for receptors between neurons. The researchers have observed that if the protein is degraded, the connection between the neurons may weaken, at which point the beta-blocker propranolol may be injected to induce amnesia.
With the shank protein as a biomarker for memory, the researchers can determine if memory is malleable. It’s hoped that further study into this protein could lead to treatments for the trauma that results in posttraumatic stress disorder. But right now, the researchers only see their study as a gateway to a better understanding of memories.