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Nature. 2019 Aug;572(7767):43-50. doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-1433-7. Epub 2019 Jul 31.

Memory editing from science fiction to clinical practice.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA. phelps@fas.harvard.edu.
2
Nathan Kline Institute, Orangeburg, NY, USA. phelps@fas.harvard.edu.
3
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Boston University, Boston, MA, USA.

Abstract

Science fiction notions of altering problematic memories are starting to become reality as techniques emerge through which unique memories can be edited. Here we review memory-editing research with a focus on improving the treatment of psychopathology. Studies highlight two windows of memory vulnerability: initial storage, or consolidation; and re-storage after retrieval, or reconsolidation. Techniques have been identified that can modify memories at each stage, but translating these methods from animal models to humans has been challenging and implementation into clinical therapies has produced inconsistent benefits. The science of memory editing is more complicated and nuanced than fiction, but its rapid development holds promise for future applications.

PMID:
31367027
DOI:
10.1038/s41586-019-1433-7

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