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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Emotional Memory Extraction Machine

The machine has an adjustable metal arm extending above the patient's head. At the end of the arm is a hollow shell that looked like a helmet. The patient is seated in a chair comfortably, and the arm is lowered so that the helmet gently fit onto the head. Inside the helmet is a layer of iron mesh that must be snugly wrapped over the patient's skull. The mesh is soft and flexible; it can be expanded or tightened depending on the size and shape of the skull.

The patient is asked to sit back and relax and try to clear their mind. The machine will first take a scan of the patient's brain and map the three-dimensional locations of all the major brain circuits, because every person's brain map is different. Next, the machine will stimulate the relevant brain regions to induce a hypnotic state and suppress the inhibitory regulation of the prefrontal lobe.

Under this hypnotic state, the patient is not unconscious, but rather relieved of all conscious resistance. The patient is then prompted to recall the events and people associated with the disturbing, intrusive, or unpleasant emotions central to her chief complaints. Each piece of memory associated with the emotion of complaint is "treated" by the machine to erase the emotional aspect while preserving the factual memory. This treatment is conducted by applying a short burst of electrical impulses that counteract the frequency of the emotional memory of concern, thus casting the memory into permanent oblivion. The patient is then free of the disturbing or unpleasant emotion whenever she recalls the event or the person, leaving only facts.

For example, a person who has been bitten by a dog in childhood may be traumatized for life and recall the intense fear when she sees a dog or even a picture of a dog. However, once the fear associated with the memory of the childhood incident are removed, she can still remember having been bitten and the pain, but she does not remember the fear. Consequently, she will not be frightened by the mere image of a dog. The treatment has the same effect on the sadness and loneliness associated with one's memory of his or her parents' divorce. The patient would remember all the events and people but lose the feelings associated with the experience. This would allow the patient to view the past with a cold detachment and move on.

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