Lynch is particularly taken with the study's findings regarding the role of actin.
"Actin is the most prevalent protein in the body," said Lynch, who has studied memory issues for more than 30 years. "Now to find that it is so critical to dependency is breathtaking in its implications."
In the future, it's possible the process can be generalized to other addictions, such as nicotine, Miller said.
As for how distant that future may be, Tsai believes we are still many years from applying the current research to human beings with psychiatric disorders.
"I would like to believe that through cognitive behavior therapy or some new medication, eventually -- not five or 10 years from now, but eventually -- a lot of the mechanisms are going to be solved," Tsai said. "We'll know how good memories form, how bad memories form. But the brain is an organ that is not very accessible to manipulation, unlike most other organs. My prediction is that progress on memory research, including memory extinction, will speed up considerably because of the emerging technology."