For years, medical experts have been treating people, who have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with antidepressant medicines. While these medicines work great, scientists at the University College London and University of Zurich have discovered a linked between a common antibiotic and PTSD.
Doxycycline is utilized to treat a wide range of bacterial infections, including gonorrhea, periodontitis, urinary tract infections, eye infections and chlamydia. The antibiotic is capable of disrupting the formation of fears and negative thoughts in the brain. According to Swiss and British scientists it may also be useful in treating and preventing PTSD.
The trial was made up of 76 participants, who were classified as healthy. Some of the participants were administered a placebo dummy pill, while the others received doxycycline. The results were astonishing, as the fear response dropped by 60 percent in the participants, who had been administered the drug.
Doxycycline blocks specific proteins, matrix enzymes, outside nerve cells, which is responsible for memory formation in the brain.
During the trial, the participants were placed in front of a computer screen, which would flash either red or blue. One of the colors linked to a 50 percent risk of experiencing a painful electric shock. After 160 random flashes, participants were able to connect the “bad” color with the electric shock.
The participants, under no medication) underwent a similar experiment, with the same flashing colors, but this time a loud sound played after either color flashed on the screen. The participants did not experience any electric shocks.
Researchers tracked eye blinks to measure the fear response, since this is an indicator of fear. The fear memory was calculated by subtracting the baseline startle response, to the sound on the “good” color, from the response to the sound, when the “bad” color showed on the screen.
Even though the fear response dropped by 60 percent in the participants, who were administered doxycycline, the cognitive measures, including attention and sensory memory, were unaffected.
Dominik Bach said, “The participants may not forget that they received a shock when the screen was red, but they ‘forget’ to be instinctively scared when they next see a red screen.