Makes you happy you're not
a mouse, hmmmm?
Maybe Aummmm is
a happy tone.
--- In email@example.com
> Mice overcome fear, depression with natural Prozac
> WASHINGTON, Oct. 8, 2008
> From Newsdaily.com
> The brain can produce antidepressants with
> the right signal, a finding that suggests that
> meditating, or going to your "happy place,"
> truly works, scientists reported on Wednesday.
> Mice forced to swim endlessly until they
> surrendered and just floated, waiting to drown,
> could be conditioned to regain their will to
> live when a tone they associated with safety
> was played.
> The experiment suggests that there are good
> ways to teach people this skill, and points
> to new routes for developing better antidepressants,
> said Dr. Eric Kandel of the Howard Hughes Medical
> Institute and Columbia University in New York,
> who led the research.
> "The happy place works. This is like going to
> the country," Kandel said in a telephone interview.
> Writing in the journal Neuron, Kandel's team
> said they used classical conditioning to train
> mice. They had already conditioned some mice to
> fear a neutral tone by playing the sound when
> they shocked the animals' paws. After a while,
> the tone itself creates fear.
> "It scares the hell out of the animal,"
> Kandel said.
> They decided to reverse the study -- they
> played the tone when they were not shocking
> the mice. "It learned that the only time it
> was really safe is when the tone comes on," Kandel said.
> To make a mouse depressed, they used a method favored by drug
> companies called learned helplessness.
> "You put an animal into a pool of water and
> it can't get out. It gives up and it stops
> swimming and it just floats," Kandel said.
> "When you give the animal an antidepressant,
> it starts swimming again. When we played the
> tone, it started to swim again just as it did
> with the antidepressant."
> NEW PATHWAYS
> Further experiments showed the tone and an
> antidepressant drug worked synergistically, he said.
> When they looked at the brains of their mice,
> they saw using the conditioned "safety" tone
> activated a different pathway than the drugs did.
> It affected dopamine, while antidepressants
> work on serotonin. Both are message-carrying
> molecules called neurotransmitters.
> The conditioning also affected a compound
> called brain-derived neurotrophic factor or
> BDNF -- which helps nourish and encourages
> the growth of brain cells.
> The learned safety did not affect serotonin.
> Mice conditioned by the "safety" tone also had
> more newborn brain cells in the dentate gyrus,
> a part of the brain linked with learning and
> When Kandel's team used radiation to slow the
> birth of new cells in the dentate gyrus, the
> effects of learned safety and of antidepressants
> were blunted.
> Kandel noted that antidepressant drugs appear
> to work, in part, by encouraging the growth of
> new brain cells -- as does psychotherapy.
> "Learning involves alterations in the brain and
> gene expression," Kandel said. "Psychotherapy
> is only a form of learning."
> This shows how effective psychotherapy, meditation
> and other stress-reduction tools may be, and it
> could help in the design of new drugs, Kandel said.
> "This opens up new pathways that may profitable,"
> he said.
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