The moral legality of memory erasing treatments

Neuroscientific, Philosophical and Legal Perspectives Cambridge, Neuroscientists can measure changes in the brain associated with different types of memory.

The moral legality of memory erasing treatments

Early history[ edit ] Research focused on gaining a better understanding of what memories are has been going on for many years, in this way so has research in memory erasure. The basis for the recent history for memory erasure has been focused on determining how the brain actively keeps memories stored and retrieves them.

There have been several instances where researchers found drugs that when applied to certain areas of the brain, usually the amygdalahave relative success in being able to erase some memories.

As early as researchers were able to trace and destroy neurons involved in supporting the specific type of memory that they were trying to erase. This caused the erasure of the target memory. There has been some studies that show that some behavioral therapy can erase bad memories.

PTSD patients may include war veterans, people who witnessed horrific events, victims of violent crimes and many other possibly traumatic events. These potential patients have unwanted memories that can be absolutely devastating to their daily lives and cause them to not be able to function properly.

Thus making the practical use of this technology something that could be used by many people. Sensory memory in short is the ability to hold sensory information for a short period of time, for example looking at an object and being able to remember what it looked like moments after.

Short-term memory is memory that allows a person to recall a short period of time; this can be a few seconds to a minute.

The moral legality of memory erasing treatments

Short-term memory allows people to remember what happened during that short time span without actually practicing the memory. Long-term memory has a much larger capacity than the prior two and actually stores information from both these types of memories to create a long lasting and large memory.

Long-term memory is the largest target for research involving selective memory erasure. Within long-term memory there are also different types of long-term memories. Implicit memory is one type of long-term memory that is generally described as the ability to remember how to use objects or specific movements of the body e.

Another type of long-term memory, explicit memoryrefers to memories that can be consciously drawn upon by a person to remember. Explicit memory can be split into further subcategories, one being episodic memorywhich is the memory of specific events and the information surrounding it, as well as semantic memorywhich is the ability to remember factual information e.

The drug interferes with this re-creation of the stressful memory - and prevents the brain renewing it. In theory, it could eradicate memories of traumatic events that happened years ago. Dec 22,  · Erasing Painful Memories With Shock Treatment. Using electroshock therapy, scientists say it may be possible to get rid of specific emotional memories. We’re still far from being able to blot out our latest breakup “Eternal Sunshine”-style. Abolition of memory is easy when the revisionists enjoy the high moral ground and the damned are evil incarnate.

These memories often involve several different aspects of information in them that can come from a variety of the different categories of memories mentioned above. These emotional memories are very powerful memories and can have very strong physiological effects on a person. Amnesia can be used as a treatment for patients who have experienced psychological trauma or for medical procedures where full anesthesia is not an option.

Drug-induced amnesia is also a side-effect of other drugs like alcohol and rohypnol. There are other drugs that also can cause their users to be put in an amnesic state, where they experience some type of amnesia because of their use.

Examples of these drugs include TriazolamMidazolam and Diazepam. With an increasing belief that memories are largely supported by functional and structural plasticity deriving from F-actin polymerization in postsynaptic dendritic spines at excitatory synapses.

The study indicated types of associations can be disrupted days to weeks after consolidation. This is some of the first evidence showing that memories made with different associations are actively maintained using different molecular substrates.

These results also show that the actin cytoskeleton may be a promising target for selective disruption of unwanted long-term memories.

There are many different therapeutic techniques or training that has been done to test this idea with some success. Although some of these techniques have been useful for some people it has not been shown to be a clear cut solution to forgetting memories.

Because these memories are not truly erased but merely suppressed the question of how permanent the solution is and what actually happens to the memories can be troubling for some.

When this occurs without the person knowing it is usually referred to as memory inhibition ; the memory itself is called a repressed memory. Memory consolidation of a memory is when a person recalls a memory, usually a fearful one, it becomes susceptible to alteration, and then gets stored again.

Studies have shown that through behavioral training results showed that they were able to erase memories by tampering with memories during the reconsolidation phase. Studies have started to investigate the possibility of using distinct toxins along with biotechnology that allows the researchers to see which areas of the brain are being used during the reward learning process of making a memory to destroy target neurons.

In a paper published inauthors showed that neurons in the lateral amygdala that had a higher level of cyclic adenosine monophosphate response element-binding protein CREB were activated primarily over other neurons by fear memory expression.

This indicated to them that these neurons were directly involved in the making of the memory trace for that fear memory. They then proceeded to train mice using auditory fear training to produce a fear memory.

They proceeded to check which of the neurons were overexpressing CREB and then, using a inducible diphtheria-toxin strategythey destroyed those neurons, resulting in persistent and strong memory erasure of the fear memory.

Due to this complex nature of the brain treatment that would stun the neurons instead of destroying them could be another approach that could be taken. One ethical question that arises is the idea that although there are some extremely painful memories that some people for example PTSD patients would like to be rid of, not all unpleasant memories are bad.Erasing bad memories.

just one intractable and unwelcome memory can influence a lifetime of perceptions, emotions and behavior, despite therapists' best efforts. "We will use both biological and neurological measures to give us clues as to treatment." How fearful memories are made. Memory erasure is the selective artificial removal of memories or associations from the mind..

There are many reasons that research is being done on the selective removal of memories. Potential patients for this research include patients suffering from psychiatric disorders such as post traumatic stress disorder, or substance use disorder, among others. Apr 13,  · What about all the other events that in some way are associated with that memory?

How do they change? It is rare that one bad memory stands alone – more often it is interconnected with other events and people in your life. Or is the only way to benefit from erasing bad memories is to erase all memory?

I look forward to Dr. Sacktor’s comments. The drug interferes with this re-creation of the stressful memory - and prevents the brain renewing it. In theory, it could eradicate memories of traumatic events that happened years ago. The Ethics of Erasing a Bad Memory By Scott Haig Monday, Oct. 15 up, a proper diagnosis, and Ellen herself emotionally prepared.

I would give her the bad news at a more appropriate time. The ending was not quite happy; it was a recurrence of the cancer she'd had years before — fairly rare for that type of tumor.

that the distinction. Abolition of memory is easy when the revisionists enjoy the high moral ground and the damned are evil incarnate.

The Neuroethics Blog: Erasing Memories