Spotless Sunshine, Memory and more bad science

Posted by on Feb 16, 2009 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Eternal_sunshine_of_the_spotless_mind_ver1

You probably picked up on the story in the media and on the feeds today about "a pill to erase bad memories".

Lots of references in coverage to the Eternal Sunshine movie (which I've used to crit neuro-snakeoil claims before) which is interesting in itself.

Except that the research at the heart of the fuss isn't about wiping memories. It's about making memories less painful. A very different thing.

As the Guardian piece puts it:

Dutch researchers created a fearful memory in 60 participants by
associating pictures of spiders with a mild electric shock – and found
that those who were given the beta-blocker propranolol before
reactivation of the memory 24 hours later were much less disturbed when
shown images of the spiders again than those who were not given
medication.

Even on this little story, journos seem unable to read the synopsis of the research. Lordy! Ben has his work cut out for him…