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A Pill That Stops Stress In Your Brain Before You Feel It

  1. mrsolearyscow
    Stress makes many of us miserable — but it can also kill you. Besides just causing horrible anxiety and depression, the physiological basis for stress has also been linked to diseases as varied as obesity, postpartum depression, Cushing's syndrome, epilepsy, and osteoporosis. But what if we could just turn your brain's stress response off?

    Now, researchers from Tufts claim to have pinpointed the way that stress hormones hit specific receptors in your brain — and they've even been able to block them. This could lead to the next great psychopharmaceutical breakthrough.

    The Tufts researchers discovered that stress pathways are activated by neurosteroids acting on corticotrophin-releasing hormone neurons in what's known as the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal axis. By blocking the synthesis of the neurosteroids, they stopped the elevation of corticosterone, and prevented anxiety in mice.

    "We have identified a novel mechanism regulating the body's response to stress by determining that neurosteroids are required to mount the physiological response to stress. Moreover, we were able to completely block the physiological response to stress as well as prevent stress-induced anxiety," said author Jamie Maguire, PhD.

    Now the team is focusing on modulating the neuroreceptors to treat some of the diseases that accompany stress — be they depression, anxiety, or epilepsy.

    Source: http://io9.com/5867762/


  1. kailey_elise
    In some ways, I think this is awesome. :)

    In other ways, I think it's awful.

    Stress/anxiety/pain is our body's way of telling us something's wrong & you need to take a look & fix it.

    Now, certainly, there are people who have lots of anxiety for really no reason. But, for instance, my friend's mom is wicked stressed out, her hair is starting to fall out in clumps, ffs! However, much of the stress in her life she places on herself, mostly by an inability to say no/stand up for herself.

    I can easily see her taking such a pill & never actually address the bullshit around her that makes her so stressed & anxious!

    Just sayin'...

  2. assholery
    There is good stress too, does it only block stress that causes depression/anxiety?

    I can't imagine having no stressors.
  3. EuropeanCitizen
    Well was about time for that.
    When I was younger, I could never stand up for myself caused anxiety to me (which actually I can only see now).

    Ive gotten to know certain people and been using alcohol and other things to get trough stressfull times and to be honest it helped me. It might have caused some damage to me yes but I never staid on one thing so there was no addiction or withdrawal at all. But if back then any such thing would be availible I would have taken it if I could, yes.

    But to be honest, stressors are an important part of human functioning, so I really hope this will only be used under medical supervission
  4. Mindless
    We have emotions for a reason, and without anxiety or fear we would not survive far beyond infancy. We'd probably get hit by a car when crossing busy roads without fear. I doubt if a drug using the mechanism described would totally eradicate anxiety though, but am still uneasy about treating anxiety as a symptom that can be medicated away. I wonder what the potential adverse effects of such a drug, acting on hormonal systems, would be? It's not unknown for such drugs to be problematic.
  5. EuropeanCitizen
    I cannot read the research paper without registring and paying the fee.
    So I doubt this will be availible anytime soon, and I doubt there is enough research to actually go into clinical trials already. But time will tell, I guess.

    P.S: Sorry for double posting, but I cannot edit my post yet.
  6. Mindless

    The abstract that this article was based on says that this mechanism has 'therapeutic potential for numerous disorders associated with hyperexcitability of the HPA axis, including Cushing's syndrome, epilepsy, and major depression.' (Neurosteroidogenesis Is Required for the Physiological Response to Stress: Role of Neurosteroid-Sensitive GABAA Receptors, Sarkar J, Wakefield S, MacKenzie G, Moss S, Maguire J

    Such a drug may have some potential in treating depression, but it doesn't look like it would block all stress, just 'hyperexcitability' of the HPA axis.
  7. Smeg
    Arthur Schopenhauer reckoned that " Life without pain has no meaning."

    I would personally tend to go along with this assertion.

    You know the balance, I'm sure.
    But what if the intended pharmaceutical product doesn't leave the user bereft of the memory of stress and pain, and renders them with a conscious knowledge of former dystopian suffering?

    I admit that that compartment doesn't appear to be in the OP, but, perhaps more mature people might be in the emotional mindset to actually know this before, during and after use.

    Would this nullify the effect(s) of the substance, or galvanize and educate the person under the influence, to have insight into the possible hazards of not paying attention to contemporary pitfalls and ills that were felt (pre-dosing)?
  8. mrsolearyscow
    A healthy amount of stress is good. Excessive stress is damaging. I don't see how an anti-stress pill would be any more dangerous than antidepressants, or analgesics, or anything else that causes a reduction in extreme discomfort.

    Sure, it might cause people to rely on the drug instead of dealing with their problems... but there's already a substance which does that and is easy to obtain, and it's called alcohol.
  9. DrJoeyMDPhD
    The article quoted is from the layperson-oriented reader, but I will check the reference provided further down in these posts.

    Stress? I'd miss it if it were gone. Stress tells us top be careful, stay alert, etc. Certainly a drug minimizing stress would be helpful...if anyone else has links to (preferably) peer-reviewed medical journal articles, please post them.

    Medscape is about the best place for informed and intelligent patients, such as those whose posts I've been reading, to start.

    I'm still a newbie on the board, so give me a little time. I have been told I'm pretty good at making the "exalted idiom of medicine" into plain, readable English...but I'm not the best judge of that!

    Dr JoeyMDPhD
  10. dnb_coqui
    THX1108 or whatever that Spielberg movie was called. That's what this brings to mind. I do believe that this will be useful as any other pharmaceutical to whom ever needs it and those who practice dosing at their bodies required levels to achieve it's goal. This could also go into play with the initiative to stop migraine attacks as well as LSD properties have come into play to deter these type of attacks. I get migraines too, I hate them, and I have noticed the studies MAPS and other groups that do the same thing are correct. The medical properties of these blessed molecules are priceless none the less to say.
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