Anaesthesia drug may make it easier to forget upsetting memories.

A drug used for anaesthesia can make upsetting memories less vivid and may one day be used to help some people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Bryan Strange at the Technical University of Madrid in Spain and his colleagues found that when volunteers received an injection of the sedative propofol immediately after recalling a story, they remembered the story’s distressing elements less well 24 hours later.

Studies in animals have suggested that, when we retrieve a memory, there is a short window afterwards in which it is possible to modify that memory. To see if drugs may affect this, the team asked 50 volunteers to memorise two stories a week before they were due to be deeply sedated for a gastroscopy or colonoscopy.

 




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