Scientists find that ZIP can eliminate memories

After a long period of relative neglect, neuroscience is gaining a big share of the federal research budget. And the New York Times highlights one program that raises the possibility that a molecule could make it possible for someone to eliminate a painful memory of a fear, a loss or even an addiction.

"If this molecule is as important as it appears to be, you can see the possible implications," Dr. Todd C. Sacktor, a neuroscientist at the SUNY Downstate Medical Center, tells the New York Times. "For trauma. For addiction, which is a learned behavior. Ultimately for improving memory and learning.

Sacktor and his team of researchers have zeroed in on PKMzeta molecules, which appear to play a key role in the way the human brain marshals memories. Teamed with André A. Fenton, who had studied how to create memories in animals, they developed ZIP, which interferes with PKMzeta, and erased their memories. One researcher even found that ZIP eliminated memory of a disgusting taste.

But the right drug could be used to rev up PKMzeta, possibly working to guard against memory-wasting diseases like Alzheimer's.

- read the article in the New York Times