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Blocking memory pathway may prevent PTSD

A medical breakthrough may help those who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, according to the University of Colorado Boulder.

Blocking a memory pathway that encodes traumatic memories in those who are stressed could help prevent PTSD altogether, professors from this school have found.

About 8 million Americans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that PTSD affects about one-third of veterans who return home from war, including 11 percent of those returning from Afghanistan.

Michael Baratta, PhD, of the University of Colorado Boulder, researched the amygdala, a part of the brain that encodes painful memories. The research appeared in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

After testing mice, the doctors discovered serotonin promoted memory consolidation, which converted short-term memories into long-term memories stored in the brain. Blocking the amygdala cells interaction with the serotonin meant the mice in this study did not develop PTSD. They believe this could also work in humans suffering with PTSD.

Researchers believe the drug agomelatine, an antidepressant, may be able to help those with PTSD. While this may be an exciting discovery, it is imperative that veterans who believe they are suffering with PTSD get treatment as soon as possible.

While many receive veterans benefits, the mental anguish is not worth it. For many, a cure or treatment would be considered a miracle.

The law offices of Harold W. Conick & Associates, Ltd. are experts in presenting evidence of PTSD and stand ready and able to assist veterans in pursuit of their benefits.