theage.com.au  
   Home  |  News  |  Sport  |  Business  |  Entertainment  |  Archive

NEWS
Today's news
Breaking news
Features
Photo Gallery
a.m. edition

SPORT
Today's news
Features
SportsToday
RealFooty
Cricket
Rugbyheaven
Rugby League

BUSINESS
Today's news
Features
Media
MoneyManager
TradingRoom
IT News

ENTERTAINMENT
Today's news
Features
Green Guide
EG
Movies
Melbourne Today
What's on

CROSSWORDS
Quick
Cryptic

SECTIONS
Talkback
Issues
Insight
Opinion
Books
Travel
Food
Education
Vision21

MARKET
Jobs
Houses
Cars
Tech Jobs
Auctions
ShopToday
Classifieds
Photo Sales
Age Shop

SERVICES
Tattslotto
WaveWatch
Flight Info
Archive
Advertise
Visitors

SUBSCRIBE
Print
News alert
In-box direct
Handheld
Desktop ticker

Contact Us
  
 STATE NEWS   
  printer version     email to a friend  

Dramatic reversal in research on anxiety Bad days at Black Rock Sand on the move from bay beaches Secret witness link to robbery

By STEVE DOW

Sunday 14 May 2000

Startling and unexpected findings on panic disorder patients could fundamentally change the way anxiety and anxiety-related depression are treated.

The findings by Melbourne's Baker Medical Research Institute, presented to a recent scientific meeting and soon to be submitted to the medical journal The Lancet, have unsettled scientists and turned upside down their ideas on brain chemistry among the anxious.

But the evidence from the work by cardiologist Professor Murray Esler and colleagues is so strong that it is being taken seriously.

The scientists tested the levels of the mood-regulating chemical serotonin in 20 patients who suffer panic attacks and found that, even on a good day, the average levels of the chemical in the brains of at least 15 of the patients were eight times higher than normal.

Until now, the theory has been that anxiety, panic and anxiety-related depression are caused by a lack or underactivity of serotonin in the brain. Based on this theory, the selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI) wonder drugs that emerged in the '90s - marketed as Prozac, Aropax and Zoloft - are intended to increase serotonin around the brain neurons involved in anxiety.

Professor Esler emphasised that the SSRIs were "great drugs" and should remain worldwide bestsellers.

However, there were two important implications of the new research, he said.

First, the conventional view of how SSRIs operate has been challenged. It would appear that the drugs are effective because, over time, they somehow decrease, rather than increase, serotonin as originally thought.

Second, the new findings could spark drug companies to create drugs that stop serotonin directly. Such a response might stop the common problem of "serotonin agitation" experienced by many patients on SSRIs. These patients experience increased anxiety in their first weeks of treatment on drugs such as Prozac, Aropax and Zoloft; the drugs making the problem "worse before they make it better", Professor Esler said.

He said there was now compelling evidence that panic disorder and depression were on a par with high blood pressure and smoking as risk factors for heart disease. A study of several panic disorder patients had shown a spasm of coronary arteries was common after an attack. One patient, a woman of 40, suffered a clot and subsequent heart attack because of her panic disorder.

The Baker Institute wishes to recruit patients who suffer panic disorders and depression for future studies. Contact the institute on 95224212.

NEWS 14: The Health Report

-------------

LINKS: www.anxietypanic.com

Bad days at Black Rock Sand on the move from bay beaches Secret witness link to robbery

 


MORE  NEWS  

Nationals mauled

How to stop teenage alienation

On a golden pond, the e-frogs frolic

Profit before patients for networks: report

Bad days at Black Rock Sand on the move from bay beaches

Dramatic reversal in research on anxiety

Secret witness link to robbery

Top marks: They're doing something right in the west

The ones the report missed

A veil of silence hides the killers of so many `Society' market men

Moods to do with ageing?

Footy or petanque? A town divided on byelection day

Labor flags on equality

Yarra a disease culprit

Clarke offer to dumped runner

Soy a key to healthy heart

US withdrawal of repair rights based on 'technicalities': Qantas

Minister calls for scan-scam jailings

Use spectrum wisely: expert

Tax office move to simplify GST

Suburbs still say no to injecting rooms

Greeks move on murder suspect

The perils of becoming typecast

Unwanted twins stir a storm of protest over IVF surrogacy

Ultrasound comes into its own Advances and angst in a new era

US gun protesters to stage mass marches

Kirk lists `don't play it again' psalms

Jordan lends a hand

Pope's secret business may be revealed

Mine a focus in island warfare

Dark night of the sole searchers


 
   Home  |  News  |  Sport  |  Business  |  Entertainment  |  Archive Go to top of Page 
theage.com.au

Copyright The Age Company Ltd 2000. Any unauthorised use, copying or mirroring is prohibited. View our Privacy Policy.