Zapping the Brain can Help to Spot-Clean Nasty Memories – Helen Shen

 – December 22, 2013  –– 

A technique, called electroconvulsive (ECT) or electroshock therapy, induces seizures by passing current into the brain through electrode pads placed on the scalp. Despite its sometimes negative reputation, ECT is an effective last-resort treatment for severe depression, and is used today in combination with anesthesia and muscle relaxants. The strategy relies on a theory called memory reconsolidation, which proposes that memories are taken out of 'mental storage' each time they are accessed and ‘re-written' over time back onto the brain's circuits. "This provides very strong and compelling evidence that memories in the human brain undergo reconsolidation, and that a window of opportunity exists to treat bad memories," says Daniela Schiller, MD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

-Dr. Daniela Schiller, Assistant Professor, Psychiatry, Neuroscience, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

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