The Biochemical Mechanism of Fear

Scientists at MIT identified the biochemical key behind fear:

Researchers from MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory hope that their work could lead to the first drug to treat the millions of adults who suffer each year from persistent, debilitating fears - including hundreds of soldiers returning from conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Inhibiting a kinase, an enzyme that change proteins, called Cdk5 facilitates the extinction of fear learned in a particular context, Li-Huei Tsai, Picower Professor of Neuroscience in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, and colleagues showed.

Conversely, the learned fear persisted when the kinase's activity was increased in the hippocampus, the brain's center for storing memories, the scientists found.

Link - Thanks Jon Mikulanis!

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I can see the use of such a drug (if it works), but there's going to be a downside, too. Fear serves a useful purpose. Do we really want completely fearless combat veterans running around?
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After all the failures of psychiatric drugs during the past 50 years, here's new wonder drug research that promises to 'cure' something. 'This drug's different' they'll say - paid by some drug company to say it of course. And in 5 or 10 years people will start catching on to the suicidal side effects or the heart attacks or liver disease that everyone who takes the new wonder drug will suffer from.
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