Wednesday, July 31, 2013

'False Memories' Successfully Implanted in a Mouse


Yup, you read correctly... 
Researchers from the US and Japan have successfully implanted 'false memories' into a mouse. Not only is this amazing, it is also pretty scary for all the future implications it may offer as the research advances. 
-Check out how they did it below: 

Think about a future where people can just 'download' new skills and information into their 
brains (ala Matrix-style) and keeping the learning out of the equation. Or how about it taken down the dark path and being used as the ultimate brainwashing procedure... 
Either way, both scenarios are far into the future since the research is still in its infancy. 


The researchers made mice believe that they had once received electrical shocks in their feet while sitting in a certain little chamber, even though that had never happened. Thereafter, whenever the researchers put the mice in that chamber, the mice would freeze up in a typical mouse response to fear. 
To make their fake mouse memories, Tonegawa and his team relied on two previous bits of research, one of them their own. The first was optogenetics, a way of tinkering with mouse genetics so that some of a mouse's brain cells are sensitive to laser light. The second was research Tonegawa's lab published in 2012, showing that they were able to use optogenetics to stimulate a packet of brain cells associated with one memory in mice. 
This time, the team put mice in a chamber, very creatively named "Context A." You can also think of Context A as the Safe Room. Context A had a particular shape, smell and lighting. The researchers took note of what cells in the mice's brains were associated with exploring Context A. 
Then they put the mice in different chamber, Context B, that had a different shape, smell and lighting. They gave the mice electric shocks in their feet while they were hanging out in Context B. (So Context B is the Danger Room.) At the same time, the researchers also used laser light to stimulate the brain cells associated with Context A, the Safe Room. 

What are your thoughts...?? Is this study worth pursuing or not...?? 



via popsci


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