Drinking prolongs bad memories: Study

Written by Agencies | New York, February 29: | Updated: Feb 29 2008, 20:55pm hrs
If you think that you can drown your sorrows by guzzling a bottle of whisky, you are wrong. If a new study is to be believed, alcoholic drinks do not erase, instead prolong, the bad memories.

Researchers in Japan have carried out the study and found that alcohol contains an intoxicating agent called ethanol which actually locks the memory in place instead of decreasing or deleting it.

The researchers came to the conclusion after carrying out an experiment on rodents who were divided into two groups and given shocks so that they become fearful. Those rats in the first group were then injected with ethanol.

They found that the rodents with alcohol in their veins froze up for longer, with the fear on average lasting two weeks compared to rats that did not receive injections containing ethanol.

"If we apply this study to humans, the memories they are trying to get rid of will remain strongly, even if they drink alcohol to try to forget an event they dislike and be in a merry mood for the moment.

"The following day, they won't remember the merriness that they felt," lead researcher Professor Norio Matsuki of the University of Tokyo wrote in the 'Neuropsychopharmacology' medical journal.

However, the researchers have a solution for those who want to get rid of their bad memories.

"To forget something you dislike, it's best to overwrite the negative memory with a positive memory at an early stage and leave out drinking alcohol," Prof Matsuki wrote.