Monday, April 9, 2012
Several studies suggest that memories can be pharmaceutically dampened. For example, researchers recently showed that a drug called ZIP causes cocaine-addicted rats to forget the locations where they had regularly been receiving cocaine. Other drugs, already tested in humans, may ease the emotional pain associated with memories of traumatic events.
Many are alarmed by the prospect of pharmaceutical memory manipulation. In this brief comment, I argue that these fears are overblown. Thoughtful regulation may someday be appropriate, but excessive hand-wringing now over the ethics of tampering with memory could stall research into promising methods of preventing and treating post-traumatic stress.