Potential PTSD Vaccine

Military veterans in Nebraska and around the country may be interested in hearing that medical researchers have uncovered evidence that the body’s own hormones may be the protection soldiers need to fight post-traumatic stress disorder. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology reports that ghrelin, a hormone the body produces in stressful situations, may be the contributing factor in why the brain develops PTSD.

The researchers believe that controlling ghrelin could potentially stop the occurrence of PTSD. In theory, combat soldiers would get a shot that would lower ghrelin for approximately one year. Scientists have known that ghrelin makes a person hungry, but some of the experiments also showed that when lab rats are given drugs to stimulate ghrelin levels, it made them more fearful that normal rats. Researchers blocked the receptors that interact with ghrelin and fear in chronically stressed rats was reduced to normal levels.

Researchers think that ghrelin works with the fight-or-flight neuro-chemical system that is controlled by cortisol and adrenaline. Some researchers believe that since ghrelin drugs developed to combat obesity have already passed both animal and human trials it should be easier to develop a PTSD vaccine. However, others believe there could be harmful side efforts from blocking ghrelin.

Returning from a combat situation may be difficult for a soldier to handle. If there are stress or other issues that are making it difficult to work or relate to family and friends, it may be time to allow an attorney with experience in veterans’ affairs to review the situation. The attorney may be able to determine whether the client is eligible for disability benefits.

Source: Mashable, “Could a vaccine for PTSD protect soldiers?“, Eric Niiler, October 18, 2013.