Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Memory and Addiction

Who said a lapse of memory always has to be a bad thing? Certainly not me, and even more so after reading this entry from the newly launched Very Short List's science blog:

(Sorry, I tried to add that as an actual link you could press, but it came up invisible on the preview)

Basically, a recent study showed that after rats had become addicted to cocaine and then forced into withdrawal, all the rats pushed the lever to get more cocaine (though there was no longer any there) but rats who had been given a memory inhibitor soon stopped, while those not dosed with it persisted in trying the lever for several days. Although the researchers theorize that because they had lost their memory of their addiction, they lost the craving for cocaine. I'm wondering if they didn't just forget what the lever was for. But all I read was the blog--I didn't go on to read the paper, which Very Short List happily provides.

I'm not totally sure if this information, which in some ways seems self-evident, or something you might be able to deduce from your own experience of various cravings, is really worth causing the addiction, withdrawal and readdiction of innocent lab rats, but it's still interesting to add good effects of a lapse of memory to this blog when I find them.

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