Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Emory University Discovers Better Treatment for PTSD

My opinion:  I'm glad that there are researchers out there who try to determine the biochemical attributes to specific disorders.  The reason I say this is that, at least right now, many mental disorders seem to be treated the same.  For example, anti-depressants are used all over the place, even though depressed feelings may only be a side effect of the disorder.  It is better to tackle the main issue, and here, that seems to be fear and anxiety.  Even more so, the fact that the researchers have nailed a particular time when it is best to administer the drug tells us that fear learning may be involved in the very beginning.  Perhaps this information will allow other even more effective treatments to be discovered in the future, instead of studies that only suggest different types and/or amounts of antidepressants.  Though it is not mentioned in this article, I think that it may be a fine idea to focus on a few types of social therapy.  I would suggest desensitization and counterconditioning therapies, which are meant to reduce the patients' fear.  But how would these be administered?  For example, could a psychologist present audio recordings of bombs until the patient became less fearful of them?  Or is something else better?  Feel free to comment.

A new path to a potential treatment for PTSD

By Quinn Eastman | Woodruff Health Sciences Center | June 7, 2013
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People with PTSD can experience three types of symptoms: hyperarousal, avoidance/numbing, and intrusive thoughts.

A team of researchers from Emory, University of Miami and Scripps Research Institute has identified a compound that can reduce PTSD-like symptoms in mice after they are exposed to stress. The discovery could lead to a treatment given to people shortly after a traumatic event, aimed at preventing possible PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).
The results are scheduled for publication Wednesday in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
The team’s research meshes with recent studies — one looking at military personnel injured in Iraq — hinting that morphine administration after traumatic injury may lower the risk of developing PTSD.
"At first glance, one might infer that the main mechanism by which morphine is working is through pain reduction, but our results lead us to think it could also be affecting the process of fear learning," says senior author Kerry Ressler, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University School of Medicine and Yerkes National Primate Research Center.
The compound his team tested, called SR-8993, hits one, but not all, of several molecular buttons in the brain pushed by opioid drugs such as morphine and oxycodone. SR-8993 was developed by scientists at Miami and Scripps to potentially treat alcohol and drug addiction and does not appear to have narcotic or addictive effects.
"We hypothesized that the fear and anxiety component of addiction relapse may be related, in terms of brain chemistry, to the anxiety felt by PTSD patients," says co-author Thomas Bannister, associate director of translational research and assistant professor of medicinal chemistry at Scripps Research Institute in Florida.

From: http://news.emory.edu/stories/2013/06/ptsd_opioid/campus.html

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