A new study of rats suggests that blocking out alcohol-related memories could help prevent relapse. As the urge to consume alcohol is often triggered by environmental cues and sensory associations like tastes or smells, this new study attempts to disrupt such cues with a drug named rapamycin. Disrupting these memory traces could help treat drug addiction as well as post-traumatic stress disorder.
A neuroscientist at the University of California, Dorit Ron, and her team demonstrated how blocking certain signaling pathways of the brain could prevent long-term storage of memories and learned associations. The study exposed rats to alcohol for seven weeks. After ten days, they were given a drop of alcohol to trigger their memory. Additionally, several rats also received rapamycin. According to Nature Neuroscience, over a two-week period, those having been administered the drug were significantly less inclined to drink alcohol.