Scared by violent mice? Live in fear of murine madness? Scientists have found a way to block mouse rage.
Pathological rage can be blocked in mice, researchers have found, suggesting potential new treatments for severe aggression, a widespread trait characterized by sudden violence, explosive outbursts and hostile overreactions to stress.
Blocking the receptor NMDA moderates mouse aggression. A drug that targets NMDA in humans might cut human aggression as well.
In a study appearing today in the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers from the University of Southern California and Italy identify a critical neurological factor in aggression: a brain receptor that malfunctions in overly hostile mice. When the researchers shut down the brain receptor, which also exists in humans, the excess aggression completely disappeared.
The findings are a significant breakthrough in developing drug targets for pathological aggression, a component in many common psychological disorders including Alzheimer's disease, autism, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
Suppose a gene therapy gets developed that will so reduce NMDA receptor activity that violent prisoners could have their chances of committing violent acts reduced by a few orders of magnitude. Would you favor use of the NMDA-blocking gene therapy as a condition for parole of a violent felon?
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2012 June 20 09:26 PM Brain Violence|