Thanks for the Memories – Todd Sacktor

by admin on March 22, 2010

Part 6 of Thanks for the Memories, featuring Todd Sacktor, neurologist, SUNY Downstate Medical Center.

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avatar Anonymous March 27, 2010 at 12:29 pm

Hi Guys – I've just had time to listen to your recent interesting "Are we Alone" on the various type of memory in our brains and a bit about how it functions. The last speaker, Dr. Todd Sacktor, I thought was most interesting in his description of a drug that seemed to erase the long-term memory, especially in rats. It was most interssting in that it did not seem to affect the short-term memory.

There is, or was, a treatment for certain types of mental disorders involving, what I recall, electrical shock therapy, or electro-convulsive therapy. I think it's either not used now, or perhaps seldom used now. In any event, one of the effects of this type of therapy was the loss of memory, especially short-term memory. the memory loss started with the more recent recall of events, and the more extensive the treatment the memory loss extended further back in time. It would be of much interest (to me) to know if this has been studied by the neuroscientists, like Dr. Sacktor, and if it has shed any light on those areas of the brain affected, much as has the drug Zip (?) that was discussed. If there is a follow-up to this broadcast perhaps that aspect of memory function could be discussed.

An interesting incident, relating to this, involved a close friend (a mathematician) at the laboratory where worked. He and his wife divorced and shortly afterwards he developed a mental disorder and I was asked to drive him to a psychiatric hospital in Virginia (St. Josephs as I recall), where he was treated and then released. On a trip to a scientific conference on the west coast, he decided to stop off at his original home in Idaho to see his three children who had moved there with their mother. I don't know the full circumstances, but he and his wife remarried and they move back here to Tennessee. The children were grown and they elected to remain in Idaho with grandparents. Withing a year the wife developed mental disorders also, and she was also treated at St. Joseph's. Her treatment involved electro-shock therapy. Following this treatment she did not remember that she and her former husband were again married, and furthermore did not believe. It took a teleghone call to her parents to be convinced. She was very upset as she only remembered the original divorce and gain started divorce proceedings. Her reasoning was that she was getting along fine with her life in Idaho, with her parents and children, and if she again married the same person, and developed mental problems then he must have been the cause.

Sad but interesting.


Lewis "Doc" Emerson
ps (Hi Seth) – I'll again have to miss the CWA and, again ,not see you.

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