Researchers discover how to erase memory

Via PhysOrg.com:

Researchers working with mice have discovered that by removing a protein from the region of the brain responsible for recalling fear, they can permanently delete traumatic memories. Their report on a molecular means of erasing fear memories in rodents appears this week in Science Express.
“When a traumatic event occurs, it creates a fearful memory that can last a lifetime and have a debilitating effect on a person’s life,” says Richard L. Huganir, Ph.D., professor and director of neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. “Our finding describing these molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in that process raises the possibility of manipulating those mechanisms with drugs to enhance behavioral therapy for such conditions as post-traumatic stress disorder.”
Behavioral therapy built around “extinction training” in animal models has proven helpful in easing the depth of the emotional response to traumatic memories, but not in completely removing the memory itself, making relapse common.
Huganir and postdoctoral fellow Roger Clem focused on the nerve circuits in the amygdala, the part of the brain known to underly so-called fear conditioning in people and animals. Using sound to cue fear in mice, they observed that certain cells in the amygdala conducted more current after the mouse was exposed to a loud, sudden tone.