Remember the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, where Jim Carrey removes his memories of a relationship with Kate Winslet? According to researchers at the University of Montreal, it is now possible to reduce the brain’s ability to record negative emotions using the drug metyrapone. Just like in the movie, metyrapone blocks the brain from recalling bad memories.
Metyrapone is not a new drug. It is often used to diagnose adrenal insufficiency, but researchers have now discovered its effect on the stress hormone cortisol. Metyrapone decreases the levels of cortisol at the time of a stressful event. Decreasing these levels, as trials suggest, impairs the formation of memories of that event. These tests are in their early stage, but show serious promise. Can we still cherish our happy memories if we do not have any negative ones?