Disrupting memory retrieval to prevent relapse

Now this is interesting.

It’s clear that memory circuits play an important role in addiction and relapse. Adi Jaffe explored this in a recent post and the HBO Addiction series did a good job explaining it. (Watch the video in the upper right corner.)

This is the first I’ve heard of pharmacology interfering with memory retrieval:

This is the first time that a therapeutic treatment has been shown to block the retrieval of memories associated with drug addiction, a major reason many addicts experience relapse, says Mueller.

Along with the discovery of propranolol’s cocaine-memory blocking effects, the researchers also have identified the primary players in the brain responsible for “extinction” learning – the ability to replace cocaine-associated memories with associations that have no drug “reward.”

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