If you are stressed or suffer from anxiety or PTSD, researchers at the University of Colorado-Boulder might be on track to developing a stress vaccine.
Wouldn’t it be nice to pop over to the doc for a vaccine that would get rid of your stress? That possibility may not be too far away. In the meantime, maybe try some jasmine to de-stress or venting to a good friend. They may give you a little respite from life’s day to day drama.
Stressed? There Might Be a Vaccine For That
Christopher Lowry, a professor at the University of Colorado Boulder is pretty excited. He claims to be on a path that could radically change the lives of those who suffer from anxiety and PTSD.
It’s all about an anti-inflammatory fat that’s hiding in the dirt. Mycobacterium vaccae, to be more specific – is a bacterium that is found on the shores of Lake Kyoga in Uganda.
In the 1990s, researchers discovered the people who lived in the Lake Kyoga area responded better to certain tuberculosis vaccines. They realized the bacterium in the soil was the reason why.
“We think there is a special sauce driving the protective effects in this bacterium, and this fat is one of the main ingredients in that special sauce.”
At first, researchers studied it for lung cancer. Although it didn’t work to prolong life, they noticed the positive effects it had on mood.
Lowry claims this bacteria will provide long-lasting anti-inflammatory effects on the brain which in turn makes it more resilient to the effects of stress.
According to research, when Mycobacterium vaccae is injected into rodents, it “alters the animals’ behavior in a way similar to that of antidepressants and has long-lasting anti-inflammatory effects on the brain.” (source)
Studies show that when rats with a “PTSD-like” syndrome are injected, they act less anxious when stressed again later.
Should you head to Amazon to buy some Ugandan dirt?
Save your money for now. There is no special dirt you can buy or little pill filled with the special bacteria.
Matthew Frank, a senior research associate in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Colorado Boulder has this to say. “There is robust literature that shows if you induce an inflammatory immune response in people, they quickly show signs of depression and anxiety. Just think about how you feel when you get the flu.”
Reversing that inflammatory response is the goal.
Researchers look forward to the day when soldiers, ER workers, and others prone to PTSD can be immunized. They say it will buffer the effects of stress on the brain and body.
Good news for rural families!
Similar studies of this kind have shown that “children raised in a rural environment, surrounded by animals and bacteria-laden dust, grow up to have more stress-resilient immune systems and may be at lower risk of mental illness than pet-free city dwellers.” (source)
There you have it. Send the kids outside to make mud pies while you take a bath with jasmine and a nice Hawaiin Hammer drink. No, those won’t solve all your problems, but it will for sure make you feel better for a little while!