Washington [USA], June 20 (ANI): It may be possible to disarm the emotional and disturbing memories that drive Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms. Doing this might lead to a faster recovery from the trauma, recent findings suggest.
Our brains are wired to ensure we respond instantly to fear. While that fear response may save our lives in dangerous moments, at times people stay on high alert long after the threat has passed, and develop post-traumatic stress disorder.
As part of the recent study, a team of researchers identified a key molecule elevated within the brain's emotional memory processor - the amygdale. Experiments suggest that suppressing that molecule enables faster recovery from trauma. The molecule may also offer a novel biomarker for treatment.
According to the researchers, they discovered that trauma elevates a specific microRNA in an area of the brain where long-term memories of fear reside, the basolateral amygdala complex. They found the microRNA, called mir-135b-5p, altered in both stress-conditioned mice and in military veterans who had been diagnosed with PTSD following deployment in Afghanistan.
"There are limited options for people with PTSD. We asked whether we could identify something unique to the storage of traumatic memories to get at the heart of the problem," said Courtney Miller, lead researcher of the project.
About 10 percent of women and 4 percent of men will experience post-traumatic stress disorder at some point in their lives, putting them at risk for depression and drug addiction, with rates even higher in the military.
An estimated 8 million people a year in the United States cope with the disorder. Sleep, thinking, relationships and jobs frequently suffer.
The main medications used to treat PTSD are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs. They can help symptoms, but for many, they don't help enough. There's nothing available that targets the traumatic memories themselves, Miller explained. (ANI)