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New drug could make bad memories go away

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eternal sunshine of the spotless mind

For those of you concerned that people today just aren't taking enough pills, you can rest a little easier: researchers have found that the drug metyrapone may be able to dim "negative emotions" associated with bad memories by reducing the stress hormone cortisol. From their findings:

The study involved 33 men learning a story composed of neutral and negative events. Three days later, they were divided into three groups — one received a single dose of metyrapone, the second received two doses, while the third were given a placebo.

The study participants were asked to remember the story, and their memory performance was evaluated four days later.

"We found that the men in the group who received two doses of metyrapone were impaired when retrieving the negative events of the story, while they showed no impairment recalling the neutral parts of the story," [a researcher] says in a statement.

Aside from the major medical benefits this could potentially pose in treating certain conditions, this development also allows us to revisit the age-old debate raised by classics such as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Shakespeare, and a particularly poignant episode I sort of remember of That '70s Show. Would you rather live an entirely pleasant and pain-free existence, or actually feel feelings sometimes? Either way, this seems like the right time to revisit some wisdom from Free to Be… You and Me: