Whether through hours of rote memorization or mnemonic devices, there's no real "secret" behind making or keeping a memory. Conversely, the best way to forget something painful has been a source of endless cliche and conjecture — until now. New developments in the understanding of the brain have made it possible to help trauma patients erase specific memories. When a memory is formed, new linkages are held together by PKM-zeta. To undo these connections, the enzyme only needs to be blocked.
Dr. Todd Sacktor is distinguished professor of physiology, pharmacology and neurology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn.