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A vaccine for chronic stress?

Here's an intriguing idea: a vaccine-like treatment that shields you against chronic stress. But can stress be treated at the biological level?

Stanford neurobiologist Robert Sapolsky, PhD, is working to answer this question - and he hopes to better understand the connection between stress and its effect on our health.

In his 30 years of research on the science of stress, Sapolsky noted that modern man's biological alarm system, which releases a burst of hormones when the brain perceives a threat, is constantly ringing. The result is a toxic build up of hormones known as glucocorticoids that can harm a person's health and social relationships. So Sapolsky and researchers in his lab began developing a genetically engineered formula to prevent chronic stress from wrecking the brain and body. The Daily Mail reports:

After early setbacks, the Stanford team has adapted a herpes virus to carry engineered 'neuroprotective' genes deep into the brain to neutralise the rogue hormones before they can cause damage. The virus is now shown to work on rats...

...[Sapolsky] warned that human trials are years away, but added: 'We have proved that it's possible. We can reduce the neural damage caused by stress.

Previously: Robert Sapolsky on stress and your health

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