The heart drug propranolol can be used to interfere with the way the brain stores memories, offering a new approach to treating people with post traumatic stress disorder, according to a team of U.S. and Canadian scientists. The researchers at McGill and Harvard worked with a group of volunteers with traumatic memories of a crash or rape. They treated the victims with the drugs over a period of 10 days, during which the group related their memories. A week later the volunteers treated with the drug demonstrated fewer physical signs of stress disorder when relating the memory. The theory is that memories are originally in a fluid state and then become hard-wired into the circuitry of the brain. By recalling the memory, they become fluid and malleable again, allowing the drug to interfere with the way the brain stores them. In a separate study at NYU, researchers say they were able to completely eliminate a memory in the brains of rats.
- read the report from the BBC