Scientists at MIT have managed to erase the long-term memories of rats, in a first-ever experiment that could lead to medical treatments for humans, according to a report from the New Scientist.
In the experiment, neuroscientists from MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory targeted the hippocampus, an area of the brain that's key to forming and maintaining memory. They manipulated synapses in the rat's hippocampus in order to erase long-term memories, and study how the rat learns, without affecting the animal's short-term memory, according to the story.
The findings could lead to methods for augmenting memory in patients with brain-debilitating diseases like Alzheimer's, according to New Scientist. The research was reported in this week's issue of the journal Science.