World’s first stress vaccine on the anvil

August 2nd, 2010 - 1:34 pm ICT by ANI  

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Melbourne, Aug 2 (ANI): Too tense with your life and looking
for an appropriate stress buster? Well, drugs that helps zebras calm down after
being chased by hungry lions may help you cope with far more mundane - but
equally stressful - situations in everyday life too.

Californian scientists are working on a single injection
that will help people relax without slowing down - in other words, the world’s
first vaccine for stress.

Robert Sapolsky of Stanford University, said he can now alter
the brain chemistry to create more “focused calm”, reports
myFOXtwincities.com

Sapolsky, has been working on hormones called
glucocorticoids, which are part of the body’s immune system and help to fight
cancer and inflammation.

He observed that, while a zebra will turn off the stress
chemicals after escaping from a lion, modern man not only produces too many
glucocorticoids in response to everyday alarms but also cannot turn them off
afterwards.

He said the hormone becomes toxic both biologically, by
destroying brain cells and weakening the immune system and socially, when
people continue to snap at friends hours after the original cause of tension
vanished.

After early setbacks, the Stanford team adapted a herpes
virus to carry engineered “neuro-protective” genes deep into the
brain to neutralise the rogue hormones before they can damage the brain.

The virus is now shown to work on rats.

“To be honest, I’m still amazed that it works,”
News.com.au quoted Sapolsky as telling Wired magazine.

He warned that human trials were years away, “but we
have proved that it’s possible.”

“We can reduce the neural damage caused by
stress,” he added. (ANI)

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