ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Awareness of Alternative Therapies May Be Lacking
Hypnosis Cuts Hot Flashes for Breast Cancer Survivors
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Beware of Dog Bites
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Alcohol Abuse Can Damage Bones
Weight Loss Might Not Curb Knee Arthritis
Human Ancestors Put Best Foot Forward 1.5M Years Ago
CANCER
Yoga Eases Sleep Problems Among Cancer Survivors
U.S. Reported 25,000 Cases of HPV-Related Cancers Annually
Lifting Weights Can Ease Arm Swelling in Breast Cancer Survivors
CAREGIVING
Hospital Volume Imperfect Gauge of Cancer Surgery Outcomes
Caregiving May Lengthen Life
Preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
COSMETIC
Health Tip: After Liposuction
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
DENTAL, ORAL
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
Biological Product Shows Promise Against Gum Disease
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
DIABETES
24 Million Americans Had Diabetes in 2007
Chamomile Tea May Ward Off Diabetes Damage
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
DIET, NUTRITION
Coffee or Tea Consumption May Lower Stroke Risk
Natural Oils Help Lower Body Fat For Some
HELP TO LOSE WEIGHT ON A LOW CAL BUDGET
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Lead Exposure in Childhood Linked to Criminal Behavior Later
Plastics Chemical Tied to Aggression in Young Girls
Rainy Areas in U.S. Show Higher Autism Rates
EYE CARE, VISION
Contact Lens Cases Often Contaminated
Sports Eye Injuries Leading Cause of Blindness in Youths
Clues Found to Brain Mechanism Behind Migraines
FITNESS
Any Exercise Good After a Heart Attack
More Steps a Day Lead to Better Health
After a Stroke, Light Exercise Gets Hands, Arms Working Again
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
GENERAL HEALTH
Time to Remind Teens About Sun Protection
Eating Nuts May Help Cholesterol Levels
Most Fast-Food French Fries Cooked in Unhealthiest Oil
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Quitting Smoking Doubles Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer
Arteries Age Twice as Fast in Smokers
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Backpack Safety Should Be on Back-to-School Lists
Babies Who Eat Fish Lower Eczema Risk
Obese Children More Likely to Suffer Lower Body Injuries
MEN'S HEALTH
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
MENTAL HEALTH
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Meaningful Conversations Boost Kids' Language Skills
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
SENIORS
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
For Older Walkers, Faster Is Better
15-Point Test Gauges Alzheimer's Risk
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Most Women With Osteoporosis Unaware of Raised Fracture Risk
Smoking Ups Risk of Second Breast Cancer
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Fear Response May Stem From Protein in Brain

FRIDAY, May 15 (HealthDay News) -- For almost 7 million Americans, fear and anxiety isn't something associated with heights, a job interview or getting lost in a strange city.

It's a chronic state of worry and tension that affects twice as many women as men and grinds away for no apparent reason, slowly eroding their quality of life.

But a new study published in the current issue of Cell has made a discovery that offers sufferers hope for a more relaxed life.

Researchers at McLean Hospital, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, have identified a protein in the brain that triggers the fear response, and this could help with the development of new medications that block the protein or its pathways in brain cells.

"This is the first demonstration that this protein is implicated in fear-related behaviors," study author Vadim Bolshakov, director of the Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory at McLean, said in a news release from the hospital. "By identifying this trigger, we now have a greater likelihood of developing medications that will turn off the fear switch in the brain, and therefore significantly reduce anxiety."

The researchers looked at the neurons in the amygdala of mice that didn't have the TRPC5 protein, and found that they did not fire as well as those in the brains of normal mice.

These mice would not be fearful exploring new places or coming into contact with other mice -- situations that would typically cause anxiety.

David Clapham, a professor of neurobiology and pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, worked on the study and said that the protein is found throughout the brain, but highly concentrated in the amygdala, the part of the brain that is linked to emotions. Clapham also is the Aldo R. Castenada Professor of Cardiovascular Research at Children's Hospital Boston.

"These experiments provide genetic evidence that TRPC5 has an essential function in innate fear," the study's authors concluded.

"What we found with our work was that the mice who did not have the TRPC5 protein no longer showed fear-related behaviors when faced with situations that would typically cause them anxiety," Clapham said.

"At a practical level, it suggests some new potential molecular targets for treatments, some new kinds of treatments," Bolshakov added.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more about anxiety.



-- Dennis Thompson



SOURCE: McLean Hospital, news release, May 15, 2009

Last Updated: May 15, 2009

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