A pair of articles published this week in two of the most prestigious science journals describe the manipulation of memory with neurotechnologies capable of precisely targeting brain circuitry. One study used optogenetics to turn on and turn off memory associations, changing negative associations to positive ones, in mice. The other study used magnetic stimulation and functional magnetic resonance imaging to improve memory for words associated with faces, by boosting connectivity in a human brain memory circuit. As the field moves from descriptive studies to more mechanistic tuning of brain circuits, it will have to be mindful of unintended consequences.
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