Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Brain's Fear Response Could Help Treat Pain And Anxiety

02.04.2007
Soldiers on the battlefield often experience pain considerably later than the time of the injury. The way the brain postpones pain in a terrifying situation is providing clues into new ways to treat fear, anxiety and pain, said Dr David Finn from Galway in Ireland today (2 April).

Speaking at the British Neuroscience Association annual meeting in Harrogate, in association with Neuroscience Ireland, Dr Finn and his team from the department of pharmacology and therapeutics at the National University of Ireland, reported studies of behaviour in response to the action of endocannabinoids, substances in the brain that fine-tune a range of the body’s functions and emotions.

Their research in rats has shown that if the endocannabinoid signalling is blocked, fear and anxiety increased and lasted longer, whilst the suppression of pain normally observed in response to fear was abolished. Conversely, administration of drugs which prevent the breakdown of endocannabinoids enhances suppression of pain in response to fear. “If the endocannabinoid system is blocked, animals feel pain immediately, but if it is fully functioning, it suppresses the pain for a while,” said Dr Finn.

Smoking cannabis may mimic the effects of the body’s own endocannabinoids. Around 15 percent of people who smoke cannabis experience anxiety, suggesting that the cannabinoid system may represent a new way to treat anxiety disorders.

“Our research - and that of others - implies that if you can enhance endocannabinoids in the brain, this might be a route for treating phobias, stress and trauma associated with aversive memories and experiences. Ultimately, it might even help treat post-traumatic stress disorder,” said Dr Finn. In certain situations, such as when soldiers are injured, the pain is suppressed. “Perhaps this delay has evolved to allow a person to carry on and get themselves to safety before the pain kicks in. We are now getting a handle on what mediates profound suppression of pain,” he said.

From understanding the basic mechanisms of pain in relation to traumatic experiences, the goal would be to try and manipulate the system therapeutically. “But this is not so straightforward,” said Dr Finn. “We have to find out whether fear is needed to induce the analgesic effect. Can you separate the two - and is it wise to?”

The next stage of his research, which is funded by Science Foundation Ireland and the Irish Health Research Board, will be to study further the brain regions involved and the chemical alterations in the brain during fear-induced pain suppression.

Elaine Snell | alfa
Further information:
http://www.bna.org.uk/welcome_07.htm

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Foods of the future
15.08.2018 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

nachricht New antibody analysis accelerates rational vaccine design
09.08.2018 | Scripps Research Institute

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: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Diving robots find Antarctic winter seas exhale surprising amounts of carbon dioxide

15.08.2018 | Earth Sciences

Early opaque universe linked to galaxy scarcity

15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>