View Full Version : Chemical Suppression of Bad Memories

Ed Jewett
06-06-2011, 12:37 AM
Chemical Suppression of Bad Memories
Drug Suppresses Recall of Bad Memories, Leaves Non-Bad Memories Intact

By Dan Nosowitz


At the University of Montreal, researchers have found a drug that seems able to decrease a person’s recall of a bad memory. It’s not exactly Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but it’s a pretty remarkable step down the road to active memory modification. And it worked out so well in the movie, right? I haven’t watched the whole thing but it really did seem like Jim Carrey was going to be happy with his new memories.

The drug is actually not a new creation: Metyrapone is often used to diagnose adrenal insufficiency, but these researchers found that its effect on stress hormones might be its most useful attribute. Metyrapone decreases the levels of cortisol, which is a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal gland in response to stress. These early trials suggest that by messing around with the levels of cortisol in a person’s body at the time of a stressful event, memories of that event might be impaired–possibly permanently. It’s a very different technique than the neurological manipulations we explored a few years back. There is a sort of reverse of this process that’s used to increase memory–at least, in elderly mice.

The researchers conducted a trial in which men were given a dosage of metyrapone and taught a story with both neutral and negative elements. The subjects were then asked to remember as much of the story as possible at two separate occasions: immediately after they learned it, and four days later. They found that the men who received a dose of metyrapone were unable to remember the negative elements of the story in as much detail as the neutral elements, while the placebo group could remember both neutral and negative elements equally well.

While these tests are certainly in the very early stages, the research shows serious promise, especially as they might provide the ability to treat post-traumatic stress syndrome–though with metyrapone no longer being manufactured, it may be tricky to continue the research.

[PsychCentral via Daily Intel]


Note that Novartis was created in 1996 through the merger of Ciba-Geigy and Sandoz. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78Ruh0ewBVo&feature=related

Magda Hassan
06-06-2011, 01:59 AM
Mmmmm....I can see a good side and a bad side to this. :angeldevil:Mostly determined by who is using it and their intentions. May be better for some than self-medicating with alchohol and other drugs.

Ed Jewett
06-06-2011, 03:29 AM
"This has significant implication in the study of the process of emotional healing in post traumatic stress disorder.[2][3]"



The question, or my concern in reading the post I posted, was that it was something that could be used in conjunction with RoHypNol or some other approach or technique used in certain evil scenarios.

Other pharmaceutical drugs have similar effects: Midazolam is given with or prior to other anesthetics just before some procedures in some cases to prevent memory of the procedure. I have had it administered twice in the last five years; it works that way.

"Scopolamine was used from the 1940s to the 1960s to put mothers in labor into a kind of "twilight sleep" that did not stop pain, but merely eliminated the memory of pain by attacking the brain functions responsible for self-awareness and self-control."


The article noted here is mirrored in some crazy places so I won't vouch for it:

Burundanga appears to be debatable, a street myth, as perhaps exemplified here (as well as in other references found under a fast Google):


Read the notes under the video, but you might consider not listening to the music. I found it stumbling along looking for some music for my next blog entry.

Jan Klimkowski
06-06-2011, 05:52 PM
These early trials suggest that by messing around with the levels of cortisol in a person’s body at the time of a stressful event, memories of that event might be impaired–possibly permanently.

Right there, we have the dilemma of scientific discovery writ large.

A huge potential for Good, for reduction of psychologically crippling traumatic injury, is latent here.

As is a huge potential for Bad, for evil people to use this discovery to commit horrible crimes with impunty.

Given the C20th and C21st record of use of such scientific discoveries, I'm afraid my concern outweighs my optimism.

Keith Millea
06-06-2011, 06:24 PM
Our brains actually have a natural mechanism that will also erase a traumatic event from our memory.We just don't have any control over what gets erased and what gets remembered.