ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Taking the Mystery Out of Hypnotherapy
Supplement Hampers Thyroid Cancer Treatment
Licorice May Block Absorption of Organ Transplant Drug
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Beware of Dog Bites
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
Childhood Dairy Intake Boosts Bone Health Later On
High Birth Weight Doubles Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
CANCER
To Quit Smoking, Try Logging On
Multiple Screening Strategy Boosts Cervical Cancer Detection
Breast Self-Exam Rates Go Up With Counseling
CAREGIVING
New Guidelines for Treating Heart Failure
Timing May Matter in Organ Donation Decisions
Tiniest Babies Carry Biggest Costs
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
Smog Tougher on the Obese
COSMETIC
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
DENTAL, ORAL
Scientists Find Gene for Tooth Enamel
Biological Product Shows Promise Against Gum Disease
Periodontal Disease Impacts Whole Health
DIABETES
Out-of-Control Blood Sugar May Affect Memory
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
Older Diabetics With Depression Face Higher Death Rate
DIET, NUTRITION
Most Fast-Food French Fries Cooked in Unhealthiest Oil
Coffee Drinking Lowers Women's Stroke Risk
Eating Nuts May Help Cholesterol Levels
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Sunken, Unexploded Bombs Pose Cancer Risk
Former Inmates at Increased Risk for High Blood Pressure
Greenhouse Gases Hazardous to Your Health
EYE CARE, VISION
Cases of Age-Related Farsightedness to Soar
Statin Drugs Cause Eye Disorders
Don't Lose Sight of Halloween Safety
FITNESS
Good Warm-Ups Could Halve Sports Injuries
Exercise Key Player in Knee Replacement Recovery
Barefoot Best for Running?
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
A Honey of a Sinusitis Treatment
Hoping for a Happy Family Holiday? Here's How
Eating Lots Of Vegetables, Olive Oil May Extend Life
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Lack of Vitamin D Linked to High Blood Pressure
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Too Many Infants Short on Vitamin D
Winter's Bitter Cold Poses Health Dangers
Health Tip: Back Pain in Children
MEN'S HEALTH
Countdown to Hair Loss
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Optimism May Boost Immune System
Reminiscing Helps Build Emotional Strength
Common Social Groups and Race, Seem to Help People Relate
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies
SENIORS
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
Laughter Can Stimulate a Dull Appetite
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Omega-3 May Reduce Endometriosis Risk
Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
Air Pollution Slows Women's Marathon Times
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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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