Many of the articles of interest that I post on this website typically have to do with new discoveries in mental health and finding new causes and cures instead of treatments. Much current work in mental illness research is focusing in on genetics and discovering or isolating the genes that change or cause anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses.
This recent study seems to place its emphasis on an area of study not previously given much attention, neuronal gap junctions. This is also promising for opening a whole new area of investigation for not only Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other anxiety disorders; but also Alzheimer's Dementia. This study may open up an entirely new area of studying the causes of anxiety as well as new medications and drug treatment for anxiety. This study also shows promise for many other mental illnesses because the study of neuronal gap junctions have not been an area of much interest until now. Discoveries in mental illness seem to be cutting edge as of recent years and making strides almost exponentially. I am very grateful for the research that has taken place in recent years; especially when we observe the new drug therapies compared to as recent as 20 years ago it is amazing what progress is being made.
UCLA life scientists have discovered what may be a completely unexplored drug target for the treatment of anxiety disorders.
Normally, when people or animals experience a frightening event, they learn to fear the place of the event and any signals that were present at the time. This occurs because the nerve cells in certain brain regions increase their ability to excite or stimulate one another, said professor of psychology Michael Fanselow, a member of UCLA's Brain Research Institute.
Most neuroscience research has emphasized how this phenomenon occurs through chemical communication among neurotransmitters flowing across synapses - the space between neurons. However, there are also small, inhibitory neurons in these regions as well, which have direct electrical contact with one another through connecting channels known as "gap junctions," Fanselow said.
Gap junctions are very common in invertebrates but rare in mammals, where they are found on only certain inhibitory interneurons. Because of this, no one has looked at the importance of these gap junctions for learning, memory and emotion," Fanselow said. Read the complete article: Anxiety Disorder Research
This article is for informational purposes only and not the diagnosing or treating of any illness