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They develop in Japan a technology that erases memories like the device of the ‘Men in Black’ (and it already works in mice)

Posted: 17 Nov 2021 20:24 GMT

Researchers pointed out that the new method could lead to the development of a series of treatments for mental illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s or schizophrenia.

A group of Japanese scientists reported on Wednesday about the development of a neural-optic system capable of manipulating memories, inspired by the device used by the protagonists of the movie ‘Men in Black’ (‘Men in Black’) to erase memory.

The new technique hampers nerve activity, known as ‘long-term potentiation’ (LTP), which is critical for memory formation, explained Akihiro Goto, a researcher at Kyoto University and first author of a recent study, published in the journal Science.

“In ‘Men in Black’ the agents erase memories with a flash of light. We did something similar“said the scientist, explaining that his team also used light to deactivate cofilin, a protein essential for LTP and the functioning of the synapse, the specialized intercellular functional approach between neurons.

Scientists manage to decipher the function of the mysterious "hot spots" found in neurons in the brain

Swapping out the black suits and sunglasses for white lab coats and safety glasses, the researchers injected an adeno-associated virus, which then expresses a fluorescent protein, into the brains of the mice, gaining full control over the consolidation of information. anywhere in the brain and at any time. When exposed to light, the virus released reactive oxygen that blocked cofilin.

During the experiment, the rodents were exposed to light twice: first, after learning a specific task, and then while asleep after learning the task. As a result, the mice completely lost the information they learned. “It was surprising that the removal of local LTP by directed illumination clearly erased the memory,” Goto stressed.

For his part, research co-author Yasunori Hayashi pointed out that the new technology may provide a method to isolate memory formation both temporally and spatially in the brain at the cellular level. Synaptic abnormalities related to long-term potentiation are implicated in memory and learning disorders, such as Alzheimer’s, as well as psychiatric illnesses such as schizophrenia. “We hope that our method will lead to a series of treatments for mental disorders,” he concluded.

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Donna Miller

Donna is one of the oldest contributors of Gruntstuff and she has a unique perspective with regards to Science which makes her write news from the Science field. She aims to empower the readers with the delivery of apt factual analysis of various news pieces from Science. Donna has 3.5 years of experience in news-based content creation, and she is now an expert at it. She loves journalism, and that is the reason, she moved from a web content writer to a News writer, and she is loving it. She is a fun-loving woman who has very good connections with every team member. She makes the working environment cheerful which improves the team’s work productivity.

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