Is there a gene for forgetting? Is this a potential treatment for trauma victims?

by | Oct 30, 2013

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A gene for forgetting?  Quote from this website…

“A new study from MIT reveals a gene that is critical to the process of memory extinction (when older memories are replaced with new experiences).

Enhancing the activity of this gene, known as Tet1, might benefit people with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by making it easier to replace fearful memories with more positive associations, says Li-Huei Tsai, director of MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory.”
This is a fascinating subject to ponder, “a gene for forgetting.”  As a trauma victim memory loss has been very much a subject of interest and concern to me.  I have significant memory loss between the ages of 5 & 10.  I also experienced a total memory loss during a 6 month period in 1965 while serving in the US Navy.  I was aboard the USS Coucal (ASR8) as a temporary assignment while being treated for what was diagnosed at the time as (pre PTSD) severe depression and anxiety… The idea was to put me somewhere with little or no stress to see if it would help my condition.  I have virtually no memory of being aboard the USS Coucal during this period of time…
I wonder about memory loss in general to this day, especially early childhood during the “too terrible to remember 50’s” as coined by me.  I also think about the 6 months referenced in the US Navy when my memory failed.  What occurs to me is a debate on whether it is good for a trauma victim to not remember certain traumatic life events.  Most of the conversation with mental health professionals and others suggest that not remembering certain events for a trauma victim is a good thing.  I tend to agree, but still have trouble rationalizing memory loss in the context of the value of healing.  My question is always, “how would remembering help the process of healing?”  Would remembering “what happened to me” during these periods help bring more peace of mind?  Were these events so terrible that remembering would be counter productive?  All I know is that my own journey of healing at this point has proven very positive with relative peace of mind a reality for the first time in my life.  I wonder where we want to go with research on the subject of manipulating genes that may help trauma victims to forget?  I remain curious and hope to learn more as the research continues.  My readers and followers may want to comment on this subject.  I would very much appreciate more conversation.
Steve Sparks

About the author

Steve Sparks is a retired information technology sales and marketing executive with over 35 years of industry experience, including a Bachelors’ in Management from St. Mary’s College. His creative outlet is as a non-fiction author, writing about his roots as a post-WWII US Navy military child growing up in the 1950s-1960s.
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