Drugs could erase painful memories

Painful memories could be erased with anaesthetic drugs

Painful memories from the past could be erased with the help of anaesthetic drugs, scientists have discovered.

The same gas which makes surgery possible, could potentially be used immediately after a traumatic event, such as a horrific car crash, to stop the images of it lodging in the mind.

Research is currently taking place in California to judge how effective and safe such a practice would be.

However, the team at the University of California have already proved that those given sevoflurane (a drug used in surgery and Caesarean section operations) are less likely to recall traumatic images than those treated with a placebo.

At this stage, the gas is not effective on long-term memories and the group say far greater understanding of how the drug affects our memories before it could be used to try and erase specific incidents.

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