memory, memory erase, ptsd

A man losing his memory.

Everyone has memories that they’d like to forget. Like that embarrassing moment at a school dance, the inappropriate joke you told in front of the wrong company or getting yelled at by the boss after screwing up at work.

But some memories are so traumatic they haunt us for the rest of our lives, causing severe distress. In people with PTSD, these memories can become more intense over time and impossible to avoid. The theory is that these memories become hard-wired in our psyches in an act of self-preservation. If we keep the trauma top of mind, we’ll be less likely to find ourselves in that situation again.

But the pain of these memories can far outweigh their benefit and lead people into a never-ending loop of trauma. That’s why a new study from the University of York is so encouraging. Researchers have found that using a method known as “sound cues” can help people forget specific memories.

It’s like they took a page out of the script of “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” a film that contemplates the potential complications that could stem from being able to selectively remove our memories.

For the study, 29 participants were taught associations for pairs of words, first “hammer – office” and then “hammer – Cardi B.” When the participants went to sleep in the University of York’s sleep lab their brain waves were measured to detect when they reached deep or slow-wave sleep.

While in this stage of sleep, the researchers played the object word to them (e.g., “hammer”).

Earlier studies found that when the word pairs were introduced to a participant while awake and then a word suggesting the pair was played to them during sleep, the participant remembered the word pair more vividly in the morning. For this study, researchers presented two word pairs and learned that when the pairs of words overlapped, there was an increase in memory for one pair and a decrease in the other in the morning.

This led researchers to believe that overlapping word pairs can diminish people’s memories in favor of others.

“Although still highly experimental at this stage, the results of our study raise the possibility that we can both increase and decrease the ability to recall specific memories by playing sound cues when an individual is asleep,” says the study's first author Dr. Bardur Joensen, a former Ph.D. student in York University’s Department of Psychology, in a university release.

“People who have experienced trauma can suffer a wide range of distressing symptoms due to their memories of those events. Though still a long way off, our discovery could potentially pave the way to new techniques for weakening those memories that could be used alongside existing therapies,” he added.

This research could provide a valuable tool in helping people who’ve been through traumatizing events so that they no longer have to live life trapped in their own mental prison. It could also be a valuable tool for everyone to learn how to better categorize and prioritize their memories to improve their mental health.


A child’s mental health concerns shouldn’t be publicized no matter who their parents are

Even politicians' children deserve privacy during a mental health crisis.

A child's mental health concerns shouldn't be publicized.

Editor's Note: If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is in need of help, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of over 200+ crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 9-8-8. It is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.

It's an unspoken rule that children of politicians should be off limits when it comes to public figure status. Kids deserve the ability to simply be kids without the media picking them apart. We saw this during Obama's presidency when people from both ends of the political spectrum come out to defend Malia and Sasha Obama's privacy and again when a reporter made a remark about Barron Trump.

This is even more important when we are talking about a child's mental health, so seeing detailed reports about Ted Cruz's 14-year-old child's private mental health crisis was offputting, to say it kindly. It feels icky for me to even put the senator's name in this article because it feels like adding to this child's exposure.

When a child is struggling with mental health concerns, the instinct should be to cocoon them in safety, not to highlight the details or speculate on the cause. Ever since the news broke about this child's mental health, social media has been abuzz, mostly attacking the parents and speculating if the child is a member of the LGBTQ community.

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Gen Ishihara/Facebook

"AI art isn't cute."

Odds are you’ve probably seen those Lensa AI avatars floating around social media. You know, the app that turns even the most basic of selfies into fantasy art masterpieces? I wouldn’t be surprised if you have your own series of images filling up your photo bank right now. Who wouldn’t want to see themselves looking like a badass video game character or magical fairy alien?

While getting these images might seem like a bit of innocent, inexpensive fun, many are unaware that it comes at a heavy price to real digital artists whose work has been copied to make it happen. A now-viral Facebook and Instagram post, made by a couple of digital illustrators, explains how.

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This article originally appeared on 04.15.19

On May 28, 2014, 13-year-old Athena Orchard of Leicester, England, died of bone cancer. The disease began as a tumor in her head and eventually spread to her spine and left shoulder. After her passing, Athena's parents and six siblings were completely devastated. In the days following her death, her father, Dean, had the difficult task of going through her belongings. But the spirits of the entire Orchard family got a huge boost when he uncovered a secret message written by Athena on the backside of a full-length mirror.

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A Home Depot store in Newington, Connecticut.

One of Home Depot’s core values is "doing the right thing." The company explains it as exercising "good judgment by ‘doing the right thing’ instead of just ‘doing things right.’ We strive to understand the impact of our decisions, and we accept responsibility for our actions.”

The value is so important that it is written on all of its employees' work vests.

There’s no better example of employees following the company’s values than an incident that happened late last month at a Home Depot store in Bellevue, Tennessee. This story was originally reported by WSMV in Nashville, Tennessee, and we thought it was such a good deed that we wanted to share it far and wide through our Upworthy audience.

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