ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Massage Therapy Helps Those With Advanced Cancer
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
U.S. Spends Billions On Alternative Medicine
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Beware of Dog Bites
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
Study Examines How Rheumatoid Arthritis Destroys Bone
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Barefoot Lifestyle Has Its Dangers
CANCER
Green Tea Compound Slowed Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
Vitamin D Good for Breast Cancer Patients
Green Tea May Help Prevent Oral Cancer
CAREGIVING
Preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome
Health Tip: Benefitting From Adult Day Care
Bariatric Surgery Centers Don't Deliver Better Outcomes
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
COSMETIC
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Health Tip: After Liposuction
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
DENTAL, ORAL
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
DIABETES
24 Million Americans Had Diabetes in 2007
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
'Standard' Glucose Test May Be Wrong One for Obese Children
DIET, NUTRITION
'Soda Tax' Wins Health Experts' Support
Low-Fat Diet Does Little to Alter Cholesterol Levels
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Gene Explains How High-Fructose Diets Lead to Insulin Resistance
Pesticides on Produce Tied to ADHD in Children
Vest Monitors 'Individual' Air Pollution
EYE CARE, VISION
Eye Disease, Cognitive Decline Linked in Study
Omega-3 Foods May Lower Eye Disease Risk
When Corks Fly, Watch the Eyes
FITNESS
Vigorous Exercise Can Cut Breast Cancer Risk
Run for Your Life
Super Bowl Loss Can 'Kill' Some Fans
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
GENERAL HEALTH
Hand-Washing Habits Still Need Improvement: Survey Says
Adults Need To Get Thier Food Facts Straight
Sun, Smoke, Extra Weight Add Years to Skin
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Risk Factor for Stroke More Common Among Whites
Low Vitamin D Levels Linked to Heart Disease
More Steps a Day Lead to Better Health
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Guard Kids' Eyes Against Long-Term Sun Damage
Coconut Oil May Help Fight Childhood Pneumonia
MEN'S HEALTH
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
Countdown to Hair Loss
MENTAL HEALTH
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
The Unmedicated Mind
Drink Away Dementia?
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
SENIORS
Boost In Elderly Population Will Be Felt Worldwide
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Steady Weight Gain Boosts Late-Life Breast Cancer Risk
For Women, Moderate Midlife Drinking Linked to Healthier Old Age
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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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