“Breathing in xenon, a gas used in people for anesthesia, may help treat post-traumatic stress disorder and other conditions linked with fear and anxiety,” reports LiveScience, about a study of rat behaviors published in PLOS One.
The researchers “trained rats to be afraid of sounds that were paired with painful electrical shocks to their feet,” reports LiveScience. “One day later, the scientists exposed the rats to the same sounds and, to measure their fear level, video-recorded how long they froze in place… The investigators found that a single hour-long dose of xenon was enough to reduce rats’ fear responses, and the effects remained for up to two weeks.”
“It was as though the animals no longer remembered to be afraid of those cues,” commented one co-author of the research.
Rare Anesthetic May Help Treat PTSD, Rat Study Suggests (LiveScience, September 5, 2014)
Xenon Impairs Reconsolidation of Fear Memories in a Rat Model of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (Meloni, Edward G. PLOS One. August 27, 2014. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0106189)