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Large hormone dose may reduce risk of post-traumatic stress disorder

October 27, 2008

NEW YORK, October 27, 2008 - A new study by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researchers found that a high dose of cortisone could help reduce the risk of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The article appears in Biological Psychiatry, Volume 64, Issue 8 (October 15, 2008), pages 708-717.

In an animal model of PTSD, high doses of a cortisol-related substance, corticosterone, prevented negative consequences of stress exposure, including increased startle response and behavioral freezing when exposed to reminders of the stress.

Cortisol is secreted into the blood stream through the adrenal glands, which are active when the body responds to stress. It is known as "the stress hormone" because it is also secreted in higher levels during the body's "fight or flight" response to stress, and is responsible for several stress-related changes in the body.

According to Dr. Hagit Cohen of the Anxiety and Stress Research Unit at the Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, "A single intervention with high-dose corticosterone immediately after exposure to a psychogenic stressor was highly effective in reducing the incidence of PTSD-like behaviors and improved the resilience to subsequent trauma-cue exposure in an innovative controlled prospective animal study."

"Single high-dose corticosteroid treatment may thus be worthy of clinical investigation as a possible avenue for early pharmaco-therapeutic intervention in the acute phase, aimed at prevention of chronic stress-related disorders, such as PTSD," Cohen explains. "In this sense, it brings treatment of PTSD to a new era - an era of secondary prevention, an era of the golden hours."
-end-
The article appears in Biological Psychiatry, Volume 64, Issue 8 (October 15, 2008), pages 708-717 published by Elsevier.

About Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and American Associates

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev is a world-renowned institute of research and higher learning with campuses in Beer-Sheva, Sede Boqer and Eilat in Israel's southern desert. It is a university with a conscience, where the highest academic standards are integrated with community involvement, committed to sustainable development of the Negev. Founded in 1972, American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev plays a vital role in helping the University fulfill its unique responsibility to develop the Negev, reach out to its local community and its Arab neighbors, and share its expertise with the world. For more information, please visit www.aabgu.org.

American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

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