AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 1, 2017

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A New Angle on Anxiety

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Clinical anxiety affects up to 30 percent of Americans who are in great need of better treatments with fewer side effects. A study from Boston Children’s Hospital finds that certain neurons in the hypothalamus play a central, previously unknown role in triggering anxiety. Targeting them, rather than the whole brain, could potentially provide a more effective treatment for anxiety and perhaps other psychiatric disorders. Experiments in mice showed that blocking the stress hormone corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) selectively in this group of neurons erased the animals’ natural fears. Mice with the deletion readily walked elevated gangplanks, explored brightly lit areas and approached novel objects – things normal mice would avoid. To read more, click here.

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