June 7, 2013
Researchers from the Howard Hughs Medical Institute (HHMI) have injected mice with an experimental drug just after exposure to a traumatic event to gage how they deal with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Once the neuro-receptor called Oprl1 was altered in the mice, the PTSD “symptoms” disappeared.
Experiments with Oprl1 have been developed by the Scripps Research Institute (SRI) to record how drugs affect the brain’s memory centers with mild to all-encompassing external manipulation.
Deduced by the research, those who have genetic variants of Oprl1 are deemed susceptible to developing PTSD as a result of exposer to trauma and this new drug (SR-8993) would prevent the entire scenario all together if used as a preventative measure in those identified as having the genetic mutation.
Kerry Ressler, lead author of the study and investigator for HHMI explained: “PTSD is a tractable problem that can be prevented and treated if we put our mind to it. Bringing neuroscience and genetic approaches together provides a powerful way to understand this debilitating illness.”
Ressler continued: “It’s a complex problem, but we think it might be one of the most tractable neurological disorders because we know the disorder starts because of a trauma. It’s complex, but we have this temporal component to it that we don’t have with other disorders.”
By creating a “model of mice fear” the researchers were confident that their observations in the mice would be indicative of the same response in humans.
The purpose was to block the emotional response to the neuro-receptors and this drug was effective in achieving this goal.
Mice who were exposed to traumatic events that had a mutation of the Oprl1 displayed abnormalities such as problems with memory, anxiety and having trouble telling the difference between safe situations and dangerous ones.
Oprl1 is a nociception receptor that is one of many that control the brain’s response to pain. Using the experimental drug, researchers at HHMI were able to activate the receptor and block the symptoms of PTSD in mice.
Raul Andreo Gali, author of the study stated : “We prevented PTSD-like symptoms.”
Ressler asserted that if given to humans in trials, “we’d expect it only to lessen the fear. Ethically, people don’t want to create a full amnesia for a whole lot of reasons. We want to find a way to target the emotional memory but not the declarative part.”
Last march, at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Senator Dianne Feinstein said that US veterans should not have access to guns because they might have PTSD which would qualify them as mentally ill and potentially dangerous.
William Nash, retired psychiatrist for the US Navy, states that the concept of “moral injury” which is defined as “damage to your deeply held beliefs about right and wrong. It might be caused by something that you do or fail to do, or by something that is done to you – but either way it breaks that sense of moral certainty” explain the increase in suicides.
Nash says that he has “heard it over and over again from marines – the most common source of anguish for them was failing to protect their ‘brothers’. The significance of that is unfathomable, it’s comparable to the feelings I’ve heard from parents who have lost a child.”
Part of the PTSD issue is the suicide rate of 22 US veterans per day.
Dr. Michael Kubek of Indiana University was granted $3 million to develop the nasal spray that would manipulate soldier’s minds to prevent suicide. Kubek was given 3 years to complete the project by 2015.
The hypothesis is to block the naturally occurring thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) to induce calming and euphoric sensations combined with an anti-depressant to reduce suicide, depression and bipolar disorders.
Kubek explains: “We’ve known since the 1970s that TRH has antidepressant effects, and it works quite rapidly. The bottom-line problem has been figuring out how to get it into the brain.”
The nasal spray would cross the blood-brain barrier and create “an entirely new type of pharmacology.”
Targeted Medical Pharma, Inc ., a biotechnology corporations, develops and distributes drugs to the US Military provide the schedule healthcare for the VA and medications for patients and clinics. They have been contracted by federal agencies to provide “safer, more effective pharmacologic options for disease management and prevention” for the US Armed Forces.
The Federal Supply Schedule has charged TMP with this task as they have worked extensively in neuropathy, hypertension, sleep obesity and cognitive disorders. Packages kits allow for prescription-based food and medications to be distributed in pharmacies throughout the US and Middle East.
TMP claims that their therapies manage disease states without “the deleterious side effects of traditional, high dose prescription drugs.”
Last year, Obama signed an executive order (EO) entitled, “Improving Access to Mental Health Services for Veterans, Service Members, and Military Families” with the supposed focus on strengthening “support for the emotional and mental health needs of our service members and their families.”
In this EO, Obama takes control over the evaluation of the mental health of our returning service men and women by providing US government controlled “effective mental health services for veterans, service members, and their families.”
Obama is authorizing the coordination of the Department of Defense (DoD), as well as the Departments of Veterans Affairs (VA) to “transition” veterans back into “civilian life”.
Keeping in line with touting all veterans as mentally defective, substance abusers and suicidal, Obama demands that the VA and the DoD collaborate to provide proactive measures and a psychiatric pre-screen of returning service men and women to prevent erratic behavior. The DoD will “review all existing mental health and substance abuse prevention, education and outreach programs” within the military services and access their effectiveness.
During a private “roundtable” discussion at Fort Bliss in Texas, Obama met with members of the military and addressed active duty troops. The Obama administration’s focus is on identifying and “providing additional support” to soldiers who have been diagnosed with “post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries (TBI)”.
Previously, the DoD have come out publicly to state that US veterans suffering from TBI and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) are considered potentially violent and dangerous.
Doctors for the DoD claim CTE is an incurable disease soldiers may develop after having injured their brain in battle. CTE is explained as causing large bursts of anger and depression while having their vital motor skills and memory impacted; as well as being degenerative of whose effects can manifest themselves days, months or years after the initial trauma.
The DoD is tracking soldiers diagnosed with TBI/CTE because, according to the US government agency, they may display personality changes that could come on without warning and effect their ability to acclimate back into American society.
At Fort Detrick and Fort Bragg, in conjunction with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the US military is conducting clinical trials on 2,000 solders to create a medical screen to detect a person’s propensity toward TBI/CTE by measuring biomarkers.