I’m not going to reproduce his whole post, but Ed Young over at Not Exactly Rocket Science has compiled the good, bad, and ugly of the media’s reporting on the propanolol study I blogged about last night.
The Boston Globe has a piece that Ed points to as an example of a media outlet that got it right. Here’s the last few lines:
So can beta-blockers be used to erase our fearful memories? “We have a long way to go before this finding can be clinically applied. We still need to identify all the factors that influence memory,” she says.
BOTTOM LINE: Propranolol may play a role in disrupting the process that encodes and re-stores a fearful memory in the brain.
CAUTIONS: It’s unclear whether the three-day findings apply to a memory created over the long term.
WHAT’S NEXT? Researchers plan to vary the duration of exposure to fearful stimuli to see if the results hold.
WHERE TO FIND IT: Nature Neuroscience, Feb. 15, 2009.
This is the best I’ve read, but I still don’t like the “erase memories” thing in the first line. Again, the drug doesn’t erase fearful memories, but disassociates the fear response from the memory.