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MIT finds cure for fear
Press Esc ^ | 2007-07-15 | Vidura Panditaratne

Posted on 07/16/2007 10:23:27 AM PDT by atomic_dog

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."


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: courage; drugs; emotions; fear; mit; psychopharmacoloy
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1 posted on 07/16/2007 10:23:28 AM PDT by atomic_dog
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To: atomic_dog

As a consequence, pedestrian deaths are going to skyrocket.


2 posted on 07/16/2007 10:24:59 AM PDT by samtheman
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To: samtheman

More like robot soldiers.


3 posted on 07/16/2007 10:27:02 AM PDT by WVNan
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To: atomic_dog

Maybe the kid on his loud four-wheeler can overcome his fear of riding in traffic.


4 posted on 07/16/2007 10:27:24 AM PDT by RightWhale (It's Brecht's donkey, not mine)
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To: atomic_dog

5 posted on 07/16/2007 10:27:28 AM PDT by dfwgator (The University of Florida - Still Championship U)
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To: atomic_dog

6 posted on 07/16/2007 10:27:30 AM PDT by Hegemony Cricket (You can take the boy out of the country, but you just can't get the smell off his shoes.)
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To: atomic_dog

Fear, both justified and not.

I’ll keep my fear, thanks. I’d rather remain a human being with choices and consequences, a moral or an immoral person.


7 posted on 07/16/2007 10:27:33 AM PDT by SteveMcKing
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To: atomic_dog

Stop voting Democrat?..........


8 posted on 07/16/2007 10:27:34 AM PDT by Red Badger (No wonder Mexico is so filthy. Everybody who does cleaning jobs is HERE!.......)
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To: atomic_dog

What if you’re afraid of taking drugs?


9 posted on 07/16/2007 10:28:37 AM PDT by thesharkboy
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To: atomic_dog

Are samples ready for Republican politicians?


10 posted on 07/16/2007 10:29:11 AM PDT by polymuser (There is one war and one enemy.)
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To: atomic_dog

I didn’t read the article. I just wanted to point out that there’s probably a great Chuck Norris joke in here somewhere.


11 posted on 07/16/2007 10:30:14 AM PDT by Steel Wolf ("There are moderate Muslims, but Islam itself is not moderate" Ibn Warraq)
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To: atomic_dog

Puts a whole new meaning on the NO FEAR decals rednecks love to wear.


12 posted on 07/16/2007 10:32:23 AM PDT by Al Gator (Refusing to "stoop to your enemy's level", gets you cut off at the knees.)
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To: atomic_dog
adults who suffer each year from persistent, debilitating fears - including hundreds of soldiers returning from conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan

One stands in awe of such impartial reportage.

From what the returning soldiers I know have told me, their greatest fear upon returning to the US is the completely rational fear of being plagued by idiots wasting their time.

13 posted on 07/16/2007 10:33:52 AM PDT by wideawake
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To: Steel Wolf
there’s probably a great Chuck Norris joke in here somewhere.

There's a whole pile of jokes in there but I read in the article that it might help combat veterans with PTSD so I decided to pass on the jokes and watch for further developments.

14 posted on 07/16/2007 10:35:39 AM PDT by atomic_dog
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To: atomic_dog

I will not fear. Fear is the mind killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain...


15 posted on 07/16/2007 10:35:49 AM PDT by DarkSavant
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To: atomic_dog

Unfortunately the side-effects of treatment include diffuse dread, apprehension, anxiety, doubt, panic, horror and terror.


16 posted on 07/16/2007 10:36:49 AM PDT by Rennes Templar ("The future ain't what it used to be".........Yogi Berra)
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To: atomic_dog

I thought FDR was working on a cure for this during WWII?


17 posted on 07/16/2007 10:37:02 AM PDT by Dixie Yooper (Ephesians 6:11)
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To: atomic_dog
When are they going to find a cure for Bush Derangement Syndrome?......oh wait this is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Never mind
18 posted on 07/16/2007 10:37:13 AM PDT by stm (Fred Thompson in 08! Return our country to the era of Reagan Conservatism)
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To: WVNan
More like robot soldiers.
One of the stories in this book: The Solaris Book of new Science Fiction.

A story by the title of: Third Person, by Tony Ballantyne.

Excellent speculation of a drug that turns normal people into absolutely fearless combatants, in a very non-Rambo way. I highly recommend it.

19 posted on 07/16/2007 10:38:18 AM PDT by samtheman
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To: neverdem

ping


20 posted on 07/16/2007 10:45:27 AM PDT by GOPJ (A bunch of bands taking big tax breaks isn't a "movement" - "Live Earth" ? More "rent a crowd"...)
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To: atomic_dog
My fears have gotten progressively worse since childhood, but I am also afraid of new drugs now because of what some have done to me. I'm nearly housebound at this point but can go to restaurants without doing carryout again, if I force myself I can do some hard things, then it exhausts me afterwards.

None of the drugs I have taken so far affected my moral choices, and a large number have been tried on me.

I made my worst moral choices when I was not on any prescription drugs, in part, as an escape. In some people, yes, it can be a catastrophe. I have seen lives transformed when they match the right drug to the person. Wish it could happen for me. Wait. I decided I don't want to get my hopes up again that I will ever get better and just learned to live with it.

But if they get this one right, it might help a lot of people. Right now they treat PSTD mostly with SSRI's, and my system cannot handle them, they were finally convinced I was not faking that. They rev me up so that I get into an agitated state and feel like climbing the walls. It is actually physically painful as well as the emotional pain.

21 posted on 07/16/2007 10:45:35 AM PDT by Aliska
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To: atomic_dog

“Conversely, the learned fear persisted when the kinase’s activity was increased in the hippocampus,....” I have a learned fear of hippos on my campus.


22 posted on 07/16/2007 10:48:11 AM PDT by AngelesCrestHighway
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To: atomic_dog

Now what do we do with.....

“We have nothing to fear;but fear itself.”

I’m afraid this is way tooo confusing!!!!!


23 posted on 07/16/2007 10:51:02 AM PDT by Jeffrey_D. (The only thing I love more than my FreeperFriends is my God, Family and Country !!!!)
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To: DarkSavant

Dune?


24 posted on 07/16/2007 10:55:11 AM PDT by SIDENET (Hubba Hubba...)
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To: Aliska
None of the drugs I have taken so far affected my moral choices, and a large number have been tried on me.

Most people just don't get it. Sorry for the responses here.

25 posted on 07/16/2007 10:56:45 AM PDT by Dianna
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To: Aliska
Do you suffer from anxiety?

I've had family members who did, and I wouldn't wish it on anybody.

26 posted on 07/16/2007 11:05:14 AM PDT by SIDENET (Hubba Hubba...)
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To: atomic_dog
Fear is not necessarily a bad thing.
27 posted on 07/16/2007 11:06:58 AM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum (Islam is a religion of peace, and Muslims reserve the right to kill anyone who says otherwise.)
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To: SIDENET

Yep!


28 posted on 07/16/2007 11:07:34 AM PDT by DarkSavant
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To: polymuser

“Are samples ready for Republican politicians?”

Excellent question.


29 posted on 07/16/2007 11:08:51 AM PDT by alarm rider (Why should I not vote my conscience?)
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To: atomic_dog
I found the cure for fear a LONG time ago.


30 posted on 07/16/2007 11:10:48 AM PDT by Clam Digger
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To: atomic_dog; MeekOneGOP; Conspiracy Guy; DocRock; King Prout; Darksheare; OSHA; martin_fierro; ...
MIT finds cure for fear

Slings and Arrows finds counteragent.


31 posted on 07/16/2007 11:11:14 AM PDT by Slings and Arrows ("You can't strengthen a zero, it will always equal zero." --Avigdor Lieberman)
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To: atomic_dog

It’s articles like this that scare me.


32 posted on 07/16/2007 11:11:48 AM PDT by OB1kNOb (Support Duncan Hunter for the 2008 GOP presidential nominee. He will build the fence!!)
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To: Aliska

Good luck to you, and I hope you find something that really works without side effects.


33 posted on 07/16/2007 11:12:23 AM PDT by Clam Digger
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To: atomic_dog

B4L8r


34 posted on 07/16/2007 11:16:47 AM PDT by Kevmo (We need to get away from the Kennedy Wing of the Republican Party ~Duncan Hunter)
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To: atomic_dog

Courage is not the absence of fear. Rather, it is the judgment that something else is more important than fear.


35 posted on 07/16/2007 11:24:33 AM PDT by Dr.Deth
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To: atomic_dog

Courage is the complement of fear.
A man who is fearless cannot be courageous.
(He is also a fool.)

LAZARUS LONG


36 posted on 07/16/2007 11:25:06 AM PDT by HuntsvilleTxVeteran (Remember the Alamo, Goliad and WACO, It is Time for a new San Jacinto)
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To: DarkSavant
I will not fear. Fear is the mind killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain...

Heh. Excellent.

37 posted on 07/16/2007 11:31:55 AM PDT by Egon ("If all your friends were named Cliff, would you jump off them??" - Hugh Neutron)
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To: SteveMcKing; atomic_dog; Slings and Arrows
I'll keep mine, too.


Nothing in life is to be feared,
it is only to be understood.
Now is the time to understand more,
so that we may fear less.

     - Marie Curie


38 posted on 07/16/2007 11:37:45 AM PDT by Lady Jag (I dreamed I surfed all day in my monthly donor wonder bra - https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate)
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To: samtheman

Heinlein wrote about the same thing in “Starship Troopers.”


39 posted on 07/16/2007 11:40:45 AM PDT by CholeraJoe (Ratzaz! There. I do give one about something.)
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To: Dr.Deth; HuntsvilleTxVeteran
Courage is not the absence of fear. Rather, it is the judgment that something else is more important than fear.

Courage is the complement of fear. A man who is fearless cannot be courageous. (He is also a fool.)

The absence of fear is not courage,it is stupidity.Courage is being afraid and doing the right thing anyway.-Author unknown(to me).

40 posted on 07/16/2007 11:41:18 AM PDT by hschliemann
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To: DarkSavant

Fear is the mind killer... Love it. My daughter is now reading Dune. She is enjoying it.


41 posted on 07/16/2007 11:46:33 AM PDT by TruthConquers (Delendae sunt publici scholae)
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To: atomic_dog

The drug will be abused in no time and college students will be dying by the hundreds as they block the last natural inhibitor to their normally suicidal behavior.


42 posted on 07/16/2007 11:49:44 AM PDT by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: DarkSavant
I will not fear. Fear is the mind killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain...

Paul? Is that you?

43 posted on 07/16/2007 11:50:06 AM PDT by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: samtheman

Saying *I’m not afraid to do this* does not equate to BEING ABLE to do it. I’m afraid you’re right.


44 posted on 07/16/2007 11:50:45 AM PDT by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: Dixie Yooper

This leaves only “itself” to be afraid of now


45 posted on 07/16/2007 11:51:56 AM PDT by Hegewisch Dupa
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To: atomic_dog

Oh goody, now we can touch the stove over and over.


46 posted on 07/16/2007 11:54:02 AM PDT by Old Professer (The critic writes with rapier pen, dips it twice, and writes again.)
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To: polymuser

Republican politicians don’t need fear inhibitors, they are not scared of their supporters.

Republican politicians need SPINES, spines which give them the framework to be fearless against the enemy rather than their base.


47 posted on 07/16/2007 12:00:20 PM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: Old Professer
False
Evidence
Appearing
Real
48 posted on 07/16/2007 12:01:48 PM PDT by savedbygrace (SECURE THE BORDERS FIRST (I'M YELLING ON PURPOSE))
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To: DarkSavant

49 posted on 07/16/2007 12:09:17 PM PDT by Slings and Arrows ("You can't strengthen a zero, it will always equal zero." --Avigdor Lieberman)
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To: Aliska

You may want to check out EFT. http://www.emofree.com/
They’ve had a lot of success with PTSD and other such illnesses.


50 posted on 07/16/2007 12:35:47 PM PDT by JmyBryan
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