Scientists say they have found a cure for fear

Published December 15, 2014 by suejansons

Quartz

If love can’t conquer all, at least now there’s hope that it conquers fear.

Researchers at the University of Bonn in Germany found that doses of oxytocin can help eliminate fear. The hormone bonds to the amygdala (the emotional center of the brain) and parts of the prefrontal cortex. In addition to playing a role in mother-child and romantic bonds, oxytocin reduces anxiety, according to the study, published in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

When people go through a traumatic experience, certain triggers associated with that experience can set off that fear for them. The researchers simulated this fear by using Pavlovian fear conditioning—they showed images of houses and faces to 62 men, then administered a light electrical shock to their hands to associate that image with pain multiple times. Eventually, that image evoked fear for the subjects, as measured by their cold sweat and brain scans showing the part of the brain that registers fear.

Then, half the subjects received doses…

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