Fat hormones used to treat PTSD

New type of treatment could happen within year


SAN ANTONIO – There could be a new type of treatment for people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, according to a researcher at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio.

Dr. Xin-Yun Lu researches anxiety and depression and said she became interested in studying the disorder after a friend who had been suffering from schizophrenia committed suicide.  She said she wanted her loss to be other people gain.   

She's studying PTSD in mice to try to help develop treatments for humans.

"What I can say is based upon the animal research -- we inject the hormones for three days," Lu said.

Lu said the “PTSD mice” used in her research are injected with human fat hormones adiponectin. Lu said the fat hormones are helping both mice and humans recover faster from PTSD.  She believes people who get PTSD may have lower levels of the fat hormones.

"What we are finding is if we inject adiponectin into the mice and they can overcome their fear much quicker," she said.

Lu says if her hypotheses is correct -- that higher levels of fat hormones extinguish fear responses -- then help could be on the way. Lu said she feels treatments could become available within a year or two in the form of hormone injections, but a pill form is a much further down the road.

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