Researchers Uncover Brain Chemicals Responsible for Turning Off Stress

By Staff Writer

A team of Israeli scientists has identified three specific molecules in the brain that are responsible for turning off the bodies responses to stressful situations. The findings could have major implications for the treatment of individuals who have suffered from a traumatic experience and are showing signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

A certain level of stress is important in potentially dangerous situations. However, the Weizmann Institute of Technology researchers said that some people have a difficult time turning off stress reactions. These individuals are more likely to develop PTSD or anxiety disorders following a traumatic experience.

However, the team identified three naturally occurring compounds in the brain that may help these people avoid continuous feelings of stress. They tested mice that were genetically programmed not to produce compounds called urocortin 1, 2 and 3. Following a frightening experience, these mice still showed signs of anxiety 24 hours later, while normal mice had relaxed.

The researchers said that stimulating production of these brain chemicals may help people who suffer from conditions like PTSD. However, until medications that accomplish this can be developed, drug rehab and mental health facilities may be the best option for these individuals.