Skip to content

Kill my memory, I am a soldier!

September 25, 2009


Propranolol … It is a drug that has been used for high blood pressure. It is also used in the treatment of irregular heart rhythms. It blocks the beta adrenalin receptor…Adrenaline functions through these receptors, blocking them will be helpful when too much adrenalin is not good for that part of the body.

I presented a review article published at a prestigious journal; Nature Neuroscience last January at a Neuroscience Journal Club where a staff member has to present an article that is relevant to psychiatry research. The paper’s title was:  Targeting abnormal neural circuits in mood and anxiety disorders:from the laboratory to the clinic.  It basically talks about the new treatment strategies to cure anxiety disorders. It was a very exciting and fulfilling article written by two great scientist; Helen Mayberg is one of them. She is an American scientist who works in Canada and one of the leaders of psychiatry research in Canada and in the world. If you’d like; you can access the full article free and read it. You can also see the power point presentation  I presented at the Journal Club.

Among other new strategies such as deep stimulation of the brain  (DBS) to treat anxiety disorders, the authors were also mentioning the use of propranolol in patients with anxiety disorders; such as in posttraumatic disorder (PTSD). PTSD comes after a traumatic event; such as being in a war and getting exposure to things that you really can not handle. Proporanolol can erase the memories right after the event occurs…So imagine the scene where a soldier is at emergency with a potential PTSD developing in the future. He gets his propranolol treatment and then he will forget what really happened…Actually as the authors state, he is going to forget the emotional part he observed during the traumatic event, but not what happened. This seems ok. We are curing a humanbeing. That is what doctors are for. Doctors simply fight against diseases. They do not support the concept of war, though. As phrased by the authors ” Although there are philosophical and ethical questions raised by a potential amnestic agent that would ‘erase’ a memory fully”; there must be questions to be asked to ourselves. Are not we going to justify the concept of  “war” if we send back these soldiers back to war? Yes, a psychiatrist has to cure a PTSD patient; a woman who has been traumatized after raping, or  a soldier after an explosion that occurred nearby. But this dilemma must be taken into account in favor of peace.

They are still working on this process. It is still not in use. But medical practice has be to used in favor of peace, as doctors in the world should work for world peace, not for war. Maybe, I am too naive?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: