U.S. researchers have identified a novel method for treating post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), raising the prospect of a new therapy for treating fear. The team of scientists at the Brain and Cognitive Sciences Department at MIT blocked the Cdk5 enzyme in mice that had been subjected to mild shocks. Mice with an elevated level of Cdk5 were likely to freeze in fear when reintroduced to the same environment. But when the researchers blocked the enzyme the memories disappeared, making it possible for the mice to proceed without fear. The discovery should help design a therapy that could treat people for PTSD. About a third of all people subjected to a trauma suffer from PTSD and one in eight soldiers returning from Iraq exhibit symptoms of the disease. Currently sleeping pills and antidepressants are the only somewhat crude pharmaceutical tools available for patients.
- see the release
- here's the article on the project from the BBC
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