Japan Scientists at the University of Kyoto have successfully used the nervous system to control the memory of mice.
The study is still in the experimental stage, but the memory-erasing devices from the movie “The Men in Black”
Or the medical procedures in the 2004 film “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.”
The rats were housed in a dark room with few electric shocks.
When a mouse enters the room, the rats around the room startle.
However, the experimental rats later forgot about the electric shock and quietly entered the room again.
Long-term potentiation (LTP) is the accumulation of memory during sleep through nerve activity.
The team, led by Akihiro Goto of Kyoto University, used light on some nerves to block the synthesis of cofilin, a protein essential for LTP.
The LTP process strengthens synapses that stimulate signal transmission between nerves and creates memory structures.
It detects which cells are exposed to LTP and determines when memory is formed and where it is stored in the brain. Drug use can also interfere with LTP.
Goto’s team injected a prototype specially formulated with the adeno-associated virus (AAV) used to transmit genes to mice.
When exposed to light, the protein releases reactive oxygen that blocks nearby compounds, such as cofilin.
Similar to the “Men in Black” movie, Goto’s study found that mice could block their target brain twice.
When the mice were asleep, this process was found to destroy mice ‘short-term memory.
“The removal of light and LTP is amazing,” he said in a research interview with the University of Tokyo.
Research co-author Yasunori Hayashi, who co-authored the study, said he believed the new technology could provide a way to separate memory structures by time and place.
LTP-related synaptic abnormalities have been linked to memory and learning disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia.
“Our new approach could provide a wide range of therapies for the mentally ill,” he said.
The results of the study were published in the November 11 issue of the journal Science.