Sunday, June 5, 2011


A recent study, on how the brain stores memories, reported the discovery of a drug that could boost memories. This drug evidently would help you hang on to memories longer and be able to picture them more clearly. This would be the most powerful discovery for Alzheimer's patients and their families. There is nothing worse than witnessing a person loose his identity and have no significance of his life whatsoever. If you think of it, what would life really be without memories. We base our future on our past and without any recollection, the future would seem like nothing but a dark alley where you are lost.

People with memory problems are like erasable slates. Every time someone tells them a story from their past, they get the feeling of having had a life. But, as soon as that story ends, the slate is wiped off and their life becomes dull again. A life is always measured by the experiences you have and the memories you make from them. Whether it is making relationships with people or having various experiences, you completely rely on your memory of these events to make your life full. Imagine what it would be like to not remember any of this. It would be like being born anew everyday. You may look 80, but would be like an infant who has had no life before that. It is ironic that you would feel that your life is starting when in actuality, it is coming to an end.

And it is twice as tough for the family. To not be able to laugh thinking about happy times, not be able to recollect the events and look over milestones with satisfaction, is so disheartening. These are the things that hold a family together and give every person a sense of belonging. And to be a family member of someone who has lost his memory, is like loosing parts of your life with that.

To these people, a memory-boosting drug would be nothing short of a miracle drug. But what about people who have had rough childhoods or difficult lives? They already spend their lives in constant fear of the circumstances that terrorized them. Would they want those disturbing memories to be boosted? I don't think so. People go through such different things in life and it is difficult to know if they would want to recollect events and be reminded of their past. There are so many memories, that, for so many people, bring back pain and tears. It would be so much more easier, if these events were completely wiped off the slate of their life. For such people, it would only be cruel to have these memories reinforced with more clarity.

And unfortunately, there is no drug that would enhance the joyful parts of your memory selectively, while eliminating the hurtful ones. The new memory boosting drug, yet to receive its patent, might want to add these desirable features before they launch and commercialize it. That way, it could cater to a larger group of patients and truly give them a cure from their pain and ailment. Until then, we should realize that the world is not perfect and so is not the health care industry. There are going to be some unsolved mysteries at every point of time and that is what will present a challenge for researchers to look for more!
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