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biochemists finds cure for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

By fnord, Jul 16, 2007 | | |
Rating:
3.5/5,
  1. fnord
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/6897406.stm

    Brain target for stress disorder

    _43997442_counselling_cred203.jpg Patients with PTSD can be offered counselling

    Blocking a molecule in the brain may "cure" post-traumatic stress disorder, according to US researchers.
    They showed that inhibiting a specific enzyme removed fear in mice and report to journal Nature Neuroscience that the finding may lead to new treatments.
    Around a third of people may suffer PTSD after an exceptionally traumatic event, such as a terrorist attack or a natural disaster.
    Experts said it was early days but the findings were worth exploring further.
    o.gif start_quote_rb.gif This data points to a promising therapeutic avenue to treat emotional disorders and raises hope for patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or phobia end_quote_rb.gif


    Professor Li-Huei Tsai, study leader


    There is currently no treatment for PTSD although antidepressants and sleeping pills can help with the symptoms, which include flashbacks, anger, anxiety and depression.
    Professor Li-Huei Tsai and colleagues in the Brain and Cognitive Sciences Department at MIT looked at the effects of an enzyme called Cdk5 in the brains of genetically engineered mice which had been given mild foot shocks.
    When re-exposed to the same environment but without the shocks, mice in whom the researchers had increased levels of Cdk5 activity had difficulty letting go - or extinguishing - the memory of the foot shock and continued to freeze in fear.
    But in mice whose Cdk5 activity was blocked, the bad memory of the shocks disappeared when the mice learned that they no longer needed to fear the environment where the foot shocks had occurred.
    The enzyme activity was modified in the hippocampus - the brain's centre for storing memories.
    Traumatic experience
    Emotional disorders such as post-traumatic stress and panic attacks stem from the inability of the brain to stop experiencing the fear associated with a specific incident or series of incidents.
    A study conducted by the US Army in 2004 found that one in eight soldiers returning from Iraq reported symptoms of PTSD.
    The National Institute of Clinical and Health Excellence estimate five in 100 men and 10 in 100 women in the UK will get PTSD in their lifetime.
    In guidance published in 2005 NICE said the condition was under-recognised in the NHS and better screening and treatment was needed.
    Professor Tsai said: "This data points to a promising therapeutic avenue to treat emotional disorders and raises hope for patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or phobia."
    Dr Jonathan Bisson, senior lecturer in psychiatry at the University of Cardiff and co-chair of the NICE guideline group said the finding was "potentially a significant advance".
    He added: "Translation of them into an effective treatment for PTSD is a long way off, and may not be possible.
    "But the results are consistent with current theories on the development and maintenance of PTSD symptoms and it is an area very worthy of further investigation."

Comments

  1. OccularFantasm
    Re: cure for ptsd?

    It is good to see progress in the treatment of ptsd. The current treatment options available are pretty bad, so it is encouraging to see a new direction it could go into. I could see possible downsides to this however. Affecting the emotional response to fear could prove to be rather dangerous if; instead of the fear that was instilled from trauma being discarded, it eliminated fear from a plot of revenge or some other normally irrational idea. Since fear is used to make rational descions, it could lead to very irrational descion making by people on said product, especially since it is targeted on more, lets call it breakdown-prone people. Hopefully they will find ways to avoid such a result, but I think we should stay cautious of such things should this type of medicine come about.
  2. fnord
    Re: cure for ptsd?

    or it could be used to create an army of khamakasi sp? super solders to do my bidding....



    But in mice whose Cdk5 activity was blocked, the bad memory of the shocks disappeared when the mice learned that they no longer needed to fear the environment where the foot shocks had occurred

    or it could turn people into things that keep trying to reach into the toaster to retrive the fork they droped,over and over and over again....speaking of which you know how hard it is to type with blisterd fingers?
  3. rxbandit
    Re: cure for ptsd?

    Swim once had a bad case of PTSD from a traumatizing stay in a boot camp then thereuputic boarding school then mental institution. swim had horrible shakes, anxiety and frequently vommited from the flashbacks and mental angst. swim one day took mushrooms for his first time and began to face his hellish memorys. He made sense of them and made peace with his past. After this experience all swims anxiety dissolved and life was right again.
  4. Beeker
    biochemists finds cure for fear

    actual journal -
    A hippocampal Cdk5 pathway regulates extinction of contextual fear


    and news story link



    [h3]MIT finds cure for fear[/h3]

    MIT biochemists have identified a molecular mechanism behind fear, and successfully cured it in mice, according to an article in the journal Nature Neuroscience.



    Researchers from MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory hope that their work could lead to the first drug to treat the millions of adults who suffer each year from persistent, debilitating fears - including hundreds of soldiers returning from conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan.



    Inhibiting a kinase, an enzyme that change proteins, called Cdk5 facilitates the extinction of fear learned in a particular context, Li-Huei Tsai, Picower Professor of Neuroscience in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, and colleagues showed.



    Conversely, the learned fear persisted when the kinase's activity was increased in the hippocampus, the brain's center for storing memories, the scientists found



    Cdk5, paired with the protein p35, helps new brain cells, or neurons, form and migrate to their correct positions during early brain development, and the MIT researchers looked at how Cdk5 affects the ability to form and eliminate fear-related memories.



    "Remarkably, inhibiting Cdk5 facilitated extinction of learned fear in mice," Tsai said. "This data points to a promising therapeutic avenue to treat emotional disorders and raises hope for patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or phobia."



    Emotional disorders such as post-traumatic stress and panic attacks stem from the inability of the brain to stop experiencing the fear associated with a specific incident or series of incidents.


    For some people, upsetting memories of traumatic events do not go away on their own, or may even get worse over time, severely affecting their lives.


    A study conducted by the Army in 2004 found that one in eight soldiers returning from Iraq reported symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).


    According to the National Center for PTSD in the United States, around eight percent of the population will have PTSD symptoms at some point in their lives. Some 5.2 million adults have PTSD during a given year, the center reports.


    In the current research, genetically engineered mice received mild foot shocks in a certain environment and were re-exposed to the same environment without the foot shock.


    The team found that mice with increased levels of Cdk5 activity had more trouble letting go of the memory of the foot shock and continued to freeze in fear.



    The reverse was also true: in mice whose Cdk5 activity was inhibited, the bad memory of the shocks disappeared when the mice learned that they no longer needed to fear the environment where the foot shocks had once occurred.




    "In our study, we employ mice to show that extinction of learned fear depends on counteracting components of a molecular pathway involving the protein kinase Cdk5," Tsai concluded. "We found that Cdk5 activity prevents extinction, at least in part by negatively affecting the activity of another key kinase."
  5. tayo
    Re: biochemists finds cure for fear

    But is this a good thing? Fear is instinct, instinct is survival, fear is survival. If I do not fear a gorilla I might try to steal its banana and slap it on the back of the head and say "bad monkey!"
  6. x cynic x
    Re: biochemists finds cure for fear

    Fear keeps animals away from danger, so its kinda important for them. But for mankind, it would just be convenient.
  7. Heretic.Ape.
    Re: biochemists finds cure for fear

    Hey, this could prove evolutionarliy benifitial for humanity actually... if humanity overcomes fear then there may be a bit of chaos at first but ultimately it seems that the most intelligent members of the species would perpetuate because they would be able to think things through. This future-mindedness may help humanity be smarter about how it goes about doing its thing on earth and all the stupid people getting killed off would help with environmental strain as well. This could be what every guerilla kooky environmental activist dreams of... make kind of "dirty bombs" that spread such inhibitors on a massive scale over several generations and there may be hope for the planet yet... not to be a cold hearted asshole but, hey, what would you rather have: whole world destroyed by too many people with no ability to think things through, or the sad demise some percentage of the thoughtless masses? lol :crazy

    Oh, by the way, admin: perhaps this should be merged with this thread as they seem to be addressing the same study?
  8. markdahman
    Re: biochemists finds cure for fear

    This could cure the fear for global warming! All those paranoid earth people could stop fearing there end and live happilly
  9. Corksil
    Re: biochemists finds cure for fear

    Very interesting read. Thanks for posting. This may indeed be a significant step in the advancement of the human race. If not the advancement - a change nevertheless.
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