Memory-erasing drugs could do over erase a bad memory; they could help treat mental illnesses such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and neuroethicist argues that these drugs ought to be developed and used, irrespective of ethical concerns.
Though a magic bullet, erase-any-or-all-memory drug has yet to hit the market and is still decades away, scientists have made great strides in that direction, with human trial under way for a drug called propranolol that can dampen post-traumatic-stress related negative memories. Other newly discovered brain pathways can be manipulated to ratchet memory up and down.
Kolber, who is a professor of law at Brooklyn Law School and editor of the Neuroethics & Law weblog, suggests that they should not let these ethical dilemmas get in the way of developing memory-erasing or other memory-altering treatments.
Neuroethicists, researchers who focus on the ethics of altering the mind, worry the drugs could basically be abused and also may generate an altered humanity. These ethical concerns, however, could deter researchers and funders from advancing such drugs, says Adam Kolber, in a commentary this week in the journal Nature.
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