Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Hebrew University, German and British Researchers Develop Means to Help Post-Traumatic Stress Sufferers

11.12.2003


Try as we may to suppress memories of highly stressful experiences, they nevertheless come back to bother us – even causing attacks of intense fear or other undesirable behavioral impairments.



Now, a group of German, Israeli and British scientists and students have found that a gene-based approach offers promise for development of a treatment that can suppress these reactions, while not impairing memory itself.

In an article appearing as the cover story in the current issue of Molecular Psychiatry, a team of researchers from the Silberman Institute of Life Sciences at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Max Planck Institute for Experimental Medicine in Goettingen, Germany, describe their work with mice who were subjected to stressful conditions.


The team discovered that this stress induces a change in the expression of the acetylcholinesterase gene. Under normal circumstances, this gene produces a vital protein that adheres to neuronal synapses (the interaction sites through which nerve cells communicate with each other). Following stress, however, the same gene produces large quantities of a protein with modified properties that results in heightened electrical signals in the nerve cells communicating through these synapses. The effect is to create reactions of extreme fright or immobilizing shock.

Later encounter with a context which arouses those stressful memories – which might be an object, a sound, an image or other form of association -- can set off that same neuronal reaction. Often, this reaction can have serious consequences, such as chronic fatigue or personality disorders, including post- traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In the U.S., it is estimated that more than 15 million people a year are identified with PTSD or other anxiety disorders.

The research team at the Hebrew University and in Germany and Britain has succeeded in developing an “antisense” agent that acts to neutralize the process whereby the modified protein is produced, thereby preventing the “extreme” reaction associated with traumatic memory-inducing stimuli.

The researchers from the Hebrew University involved in the project are Prof. Hermona Soreq, who heads the Eric Roland Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, plus Dr. Binyamin Hochner and graduate students Noa Farchi and Ella H. Sklan. Also participating was Dr. Shai Shoham of Herzog Hospital in Jerusalem. From the Max Planck Institute, the participants are Prof. Joachim Spiess, Dr. Thomas Blank and Ph.D. students Ingrid Nijholt and Min-Jeong Kye. Involved with the work also were Birgit Verbeure and David Owen of the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, England.

The object of the research is not to erase memory, emphasizes Prof. Soreq – since memory of dangerous situations or circumstances can be beneficial for survival – but rather to develop a drug that would block the harmful reactions of those suffering from recurring stress symptoms due to lingering memories of past traumatic experiences. Until now there has been no drug to treat the core of the post-stress problem, but rather only its symptoms.

Working towards creating a commercial medicinal product based on the research is Ester Neuroscience, a startup company in Tel Aviv, with backing from the Medica Venture Capital Fund, by agreement with the Yissum Research Development Company of the Hebrew University.

Jerry Barrach | Hebrew University
Further information:
http://www.huji.ac.il/huji/eng/index_e.htm

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Norovirus evades immune system by hiding out in rare gut cells
12.10.2017 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

nachricht Flexible sensors can detect movement in GI tract
11.10.2017 | Massachusetts Institute of Technology

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

Im Focus: New nanomaterial can extract hydrogen fuel from seawater

Hybrid material converts more sunlight and can weather seawater's harsh conditions

It's possible to produce hydrogen to power fuel cells by extracting the gas from seawater, but the electricity required to do it makes the process costly. UCF...

Im Focus: Small collisions make big impact on Mercury's thin atmosphere

Mercury, our smallest planetary neighbor, has very little to call an atmosphere, but it does have a strange weather pattern: morning micro-meteor showers.

Recent modeling along with previously published results from NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft -- short for Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

Conference Week RRR2017 on Renewable Resources from Wet and Rewetted Peatlands

28.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A single photon reveals quantum entanglement of 16 million atoms

16.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

The melting ice makes the sea around Greenland less saline

16.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

On the generation of solar spicules and Alfvenic waves

16.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>