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Apr 06, 2017 09:02 AM EDT

Common Antibiotic May Be Able To Prevent And Cure PTSD, According To University Research [Video]

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A research conducted by British and Swiss scientists finds doxycycline; a common antibiotic, can disrupt negative thoughts and fears. The research finding may also prove that it can be used to prevent post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

University College London (ULC) and the University of Zurich published their new study in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, stated that fear responses in participants, who took the antibiotic, were shown to be reduced. This indicated that the drug can suppress fear memory and might even potentially prevent the development of an overactive fear memory.

There were 76 healthy participants involved in the study, which was conducted as a placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized controlled trial. The participants were given doxycycline in the first round of trials and were taught to associate a certain color with an electric shock. A week later, the participants were shown the same colors, but this time, the shock was replaced by a loud sound. The researchers then measured their fear responses.

The participant's fear responses were taken by tracking their eye blinks and were calculated by subtracting the baseline startle response from the response to the sound when the "bad color" was shown. The participants who took doxycycline showed a fear response that is 60 percent lower than those who had a placebo. Therefore, the results amplify the finding that doxycycline can potentially reduce fear memory responses in individuals.

Professor Dominik Bach, MD, Ph.D., and lead author said they have demonstrated proof-of-principle for a new treatment strategy for PTSD. He adds, that to treat such diseases, the use of clinically approved drugs that block these enzymes, which includes the antibiotic doxycycline, they aim to see if they could help to prevent fear memories from forming in the brain, Pharmacy Times reported.

The researchers were quick to point out that using drugs to prevent PTSD is a challenging enterprise. It would be impossible to predict when a traumatic event is about to occur. However, there is proof that memories and associations can be altered or a reconsolidation after an event, and further research into doxycycline's effects on reconsolidation of fear memories could provide potential clinical benefits.

In conclusion, the researcher's findings show promise with indications that tetracycline antibiotics could be dispensed for primary prevention of fear memory acquisition in individuals.

© 2017 University Herald, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

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