November 19, 2008

Anti-Stress Drug?

Doctors are finding promising effects from a drug that could make stress disappear.

In a small test on rats that were put under stressful conditions, researchers found exposing them to a small dose of muscimol -- a drug that temporarily inactivates the amygdala region of the brain -- eliminated the effects of stress completely.

"It was as if the experience had never happened to them," Lauren Jones, a University of Washington psychology doctoral student, was quoted as saying. "Inactivation of the amygdala took the stress away."

Neuroscientists say stress can have long-lasting effects on cognition, including memory, learning and decision making processes. Stress can also contribute to anxiety, depression, schizophrenia and drug-use relapse in humans.

Doctors caution more tests will need to be done to understand how deactivation of the amygdala relates to stress.

SOURCE: Presented at the Society for Neuroscience's annual meeting in Washington, D.C., November 18, 2008


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