Rewarding memories, related to food addiction, can be erased in rats through training suggests research published this week in Nature Communications. These findings may in future have important implications for the treatment of drug addiction.
Memory reconsolidation, or the reactivation of a memory followed by extinction is known to erase fear memories. Jonathan Lee and colleagues show that this procedure can also erase food memories in rats. Rats were trained to poke their noses into a feeder to receive food; this was associated with a light stimulus. To reactivate the memory, for 10 minutes the rats still received the light stimulus but did not receive the food,. The team found that when this procedure was carried out over a 60-70 minute period the memory was extinguished.
With further research, these findings may be translatable to a clinical setting.