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View Full Version : Injections might help treat post-traumatic stress disorder



Raven
09-17-2006, 06:04 AM
A simple injection can ease the anxiety that comes with reliving a traumatic memory, according to a new study on mice conducted by Dallas researchers. Scientists at the Dallas Veterans Affairs Medical Center are testing whether a similar medication can relieve post-traumatic stress disorder.

An estimated 5.2 million Americans suffer from the disorder. Combat, an assault or a natural disaster can trigger the condition, which can persist for months or years. Available treatments include psychotherapy and counseling, but no definitive medication exists.

An estimated 5.2 million Americans suffer from the disorder. Combat, an assault or a natural disaster can trigger the condition, which can persist for months or years. Available treatments include psychotherapy and counseling, but no definitive medication exists.

In the new study, scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center tried to simulate post-tramautic stress disorder in lab mice. The researchers placed mice in a box and gave them a mild but unpleasant electric shock to the feet. When the mice were placed in the box again – with no electric shock – they froze in fear. But when the mice were given an injection of a natural stress hormone, their fear decreased.

The researchers "have made an important discovery that might give us a new therapeutic approach to treating phobias and post-traumatic stress disorder," David Sweatt, a neuroscientist and memory researcher at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, wrote in an e-mail.

The research, appearing in today's issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, stemmed from previous studies showing that people with the disorder have lower-than-normal surges of a stress hormone, corticosterone. That suggested that the hormone – part of the body's biochemical arsenal for dealing with stressful situations – might normally help counteract the anxiety brought on by traumatic memories.

Based on the new mouse tests, that idea seems to be holding up, said Dr. Craig Powell, the UT Southwestern neuroscientist who led the study. The corticosterone injections, he said, seem to help the brain replace the old memory – that the box means an electric shock – with a new one that says the box is now safe.

"We're not erasing the memory, but we're saying, 'Hey, this isn't so bad,' " Dr. Powell said.

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/localnews/stories/DN-PTSD_13met.ART0.North.Edition1.3ec50b2.html


This would really be of benefit for many of us who have or are dealing with anxiety/panic attacks I believe.

Raven