A Drug That Could Erase Your Bad Memories

Some Canadian researchers say the drug metyrapone (pronounced "met-yr-a-pone") can stop your brain from recalling the sadness and other "negative" emotions associated with difficult memories—for example, the death of poor little Fluffy, the sweet kitten who never stood a chance.

Sorry, what did you say? You would rather not be reminded of that? Oh, okay. Back to our message of hope, then: In an article published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (which never publishes enough pictures, why???), the Canadian doctors describe their research:

The study involved 33 men learning a story composed of neutral and negative events. Three days later, they were divided into three groups — one received a single dose of metyrapone, the second received two doses, while the third were given a placebo.

The study participants were asked to remember the story, and their memory performance was evaluated four days later.

"We found that the men in the group who received two doses of metyrapone were impaired when retrieving the negative events of the story, while they showed no impairment recalling the neutral parts of the story," Marin says in a statement.

By reducing the levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which gets involved in memory recall, metyrapone reduces your sadness and pain feelings. And then you can smile, which is more pleasing to others (unless you hang out with Morrissey).

Would you ever take such a drug? What if it negatively affected your ability to produce poetry or engage in other art forms? Have you ever thought that maybe you don't need to be sad to be creative? Just look at Miley Cyrus—she seems like a chipper gal who embraces all that life has to offer.

FWIW, you don't have you worry your pretty little trauma-filled head thinking about such questions too much, because nobody's making metyrapone at the moment. However! "Other drugs also decrease cortisol levels, and further studies with these compounds will enable us to gain a better understanding of the brain mechanisms involved in the modulation of negative memories," say the researchers. But those studies will probably take a few years, so for now I guess you'll just have to stick to your current sadness-reducing fall-backs, yoga and bourbon.

[UPI, PsychCentral, photo via e-MagineArt.com.]