A crucial chemical for memory storage in the brain believed to suppress unwanted thoughts was recently discovered by scientists.
During the study, whose results were published in the scientific journal, Nature Communications, a group of participants was instructed to correlate word sequences, such as ordeal/cockroach and moss/north. They were then instructed to associate the color green with recollection and the color red with forgetfulness. When one word pair was shown in green the participant was supposed to recall their meanings, while if shown in red, were instructed to forget. To capture the brain's chemical responses, the participants were subjected to an MRI and magnetic resonance spectroscopy during the experiment.
With the aim of charting the participants' reactions while trying to suppress thoughts and monitoring key areas of the brain, scientists discovered that the skill of suppressing unwanted thoughts is related to a chemical called "GABA" that sends signals between nerve cells.
Conducted by Dr. Taylor Schmitz and professor Michael Anderson from Cambridge University, the study showed that GABA concentrated in the hippocampus, the area of the brain that harbors memory, controls a person's recalling capabilities.
It is believed that this discovery could be used in treatments for diseases like anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and schizophrenia, which generally occur alongside hyperactivity in the hippocampus.