study: drug can erase emotional links to fearful memories

A lab study shows that a common blood pressure drug can modify a fear memory in people. Scientists are hopeful such drugs could be used to treat people with post-traumatic stress disorder, and this is already being tried in one clinic.

The really interesting thing about this story is that the memory itself is still in tact, but the emotional link (i.e. fear) is erased. In the study, volunteers were exposed to two images of spiders and received a small electric shock when they saw one of them. This produced an emotional memory of fear whenever they saw that particular spider. The experimental group of students were then given a beta blocker (blood pressure) drug and exposed to the same image. This effectively removed the fear that was associated with the image. Truly an amazing development especially for those with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

via Study: Drug Can Erase Fearful Memories : NPR.

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