Researchers from Leicester University in the UK, may have developed a pill that could help those suffering from traumatic memories to blot them out, as well as provide a basis for new forms of treatment for depression. This came after the discovery of how the brain copes with stress. There is a long way until the pill comes on the market though; it will probably take a further ten years.
The pill researchers first conducted tests on mice. It was found that mice that cannot make lipocalin-2 (a type of protein) had a stronger reaction to stress than those animals which were able to create the protein. According to a report from the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (MUST CREDIT), it was then found that the mice had less junctions used in brain cell communication which also help with memories. While this helps develop memory, as Dr. Robert Pawlak, a researcher on the project pointed out, “[this] is not always good.” He added that, “some very stressful events would better be forgotten quickly or they may result in anxiety disorders. There is a constant battle of forces in our brain to help maintain the right balance of thin and mushroom spines – or how much to remember and what better to forget. We have identified a protein that the brain produces in response to stress in order to reduce the number of mushroom spines and therefore reduce future anxiety associated with stressful events.”