Breaking News
August 18, 2018 - Blood biomarker could help predict kidney cancer up to five years prior to diagnosis
August 18, 2018 - Dartmouth scientists create more sustainable feed for aquaculture
August 18, 2018 - Immigrants Not a Burden on U.S. Health Care: Study
August 18, 2018 - Women who eat fast food take longer to become pregnant
August 18, 2018 - Most YouTube videos on plastic surgery are misleading marketing campaigns
August 18, 2018 - The essential guide to make your laboratory more sustainable
August 18, 2018 - Researchers describe promising strategy to remove melanoma’s most powerful defenses
August 18, 2018 - Women with polycystic ovary syndrome dissatisfied with medical care
August 18, 2018 - Research discoveries reveal insights behind neurological degeneration
August 18, 2018 - Researchers win multi-million Euro award to conduct research into liver disease
August 18, 2018 - Survey highlights variations in practice of airway management in pediatric intensive care units
August 18, 2018 - UK students win sponsorship from Promega Corporation
August 18, 2018 - Janssen Reports Positive Topline Results for ATLAS Phase III Study of a Novel, Long Acting Injectable Two-Drug Regimen for the treatment of HIV-1
August 18, 2018 - PSD as a molecular platform for understanding synapse formation and plasticity
August 18, 2018 - Improved visual communication could help patients to make informed health-care decisions
August 18, 2018 - New algorithm helps identify and manage diabetic patients at increased fracture risk
August 18, 2018 - Microscopic insect odour detecting mechanisms discovered
August 18, 2018 - Researchers develop new approach to study how tuberculosis infects people
August 18, 2018 - FDA Approves Kalydeco (ivacaftor) for Cystic Fibrosis in Children Ages 12 to
August 18, 2018 - An ion channel differentiates newborn and mature neurons in the adult brain
August 18, 2018 - Socio-economic position associated with pregnant women’s exposure to environmental hazards
August 18, 2018 - Voters to settle dispute over ambulance employee break times
August 18, 2018 - AGA urges policymakers and stakeholders to improve affordability of drugs
August 18, 2018 - Increasing dietary protein may lower risk of diabetes in people with NAFLD
August 18, 2018 - New HIV therapy suppresses viral replication and increases immune cells in drug-resistant patients
August 18, 2018 - Broad Genetic Testing for NSCLC May Not Improve Survival
August 18, 2018 - Discovery opens door for synthetic opioids with less addictive qualities
August 18, 2018 - Transgenic rice plant extracts could help stop the spread of HIV
August 18, 2018 - Hologic’s Cynosure division partners with Porter Instrument to distribute nitrous oxide and oxygen system
August 18, 2018 - Two thyroid medications recalled by FDA
August 18, 2018 - Forecast Sees Abnormal Heat Worldwide Through 2022
August 18, 2018 - Childhood absence epilepsy – Genetics Home Reference
August 18, 2018 - Fearing hard Brexit, UK drugmakers stockpile to protect lives
August 18, 2018 - Discovery may help broaden the scope of defenses against HPV
August 18, 2018 - When they start thinking green, they see green
August 18, 2018 - Scientists introduce microfluidics-based chip for manipulation and analysis of single cells
August 18, 2018 - Researchers design new way to grow nose cells for treating spinal cord injuries
August 18, 2018 - New light shed on relationship between calorie-burning fat and muscle function
August 18, 2018 - Surgery Saturday Instagram series takes you inside Stanford’s OR
August 18, 2018 - Researchers uncover surprising new role for inhibition in the cerebellum
August 18, 2018 - Children have better nutrition when they live near forests, global study shows
August 18, 2018 - OHSU professor conducts clinical trial with artificial pancreas using Xeris’ liquid glucagon
August 18, 2018 - HSS takes young patients with physical challenges on a surfing trip
August 18, 2018 - Study shows electronic health records leave doctors and patients unsatisfied
August 18, 2018 - Study uncovers mechanism that affects multiplication of dengue virus lineage
August 18, 2018 - UTHealth safety expert talks about preparing for the most destructive hurricanes
August 18, 2018 - Theravance Biopharma Reports Positive Top-Line Four-Week Data from Phase 2 Trial of TD-9855 for the Treatment of Symptomatic Neurogenic Orthostatic Hypotension
August 18, 2018 - Animations prove effective in accurately measuring pain
August 18, 2018 - Three faculty members appointed to endowed positions | News Center
August 18, 2018 - New technique detects, measures, analyzes unevenly charged biomolecules
August 18, 2018 - Brief exposures to stressors can be beneficial to cells, shows study
August 18, 2018 - UTHealth-led survey shows much work remains to increase safety of e-health records
August 18, 2018 - Researchers use super-resolution microscope to unravel secrets of deadly Nipah virus
August 18, 2018 - Scientists identify pathways that reveal insights into mechanism of lung cancer etiology
August 18, 2018 - Rush’s health care IT leaders reach White House
August 18, 2018 - FDA approves marketing of brainsway deep transcranial magnetic stimulation system for OCD
August 17, 2018 - OUHSC gets $20 million grant to advance research and patient care for Oklahomans
August 17, 2018 - Sperm morphology differs depending on qualities of male bird
August 17, 2018 - Texas A&M researchers develop clay-based platform to grow blood vessels
August 17, 2018 - FDA Approves Expanded Indication for Orkambi (lumacaftor/ivacaftor) in Children Ages 2-5 Years
August 17, 2018 - Caring for Concussions | NIH News in Health
August 17, 2018 - Team explores diabetes drug’s ability to treat RSV infection
August 17, 2018 - New imaging technique can spot tuberculosis infection in an hour | News Center
August 17, 2018 - PolyU researchers design new self-fitting scaffold to induce bone regeneration
August 17, 2018 - CartiHeal and LSU Health successfully enroll first two patients in Agili-C IDE pivotal study
August 17, 2018 - Less-invasive options are slowing disease progression in glaucoma patients
August 17, 2018 - Researchers discover new promising target point for cancer and diabetes therapies
August 17, 2018 - Podcast: KHN’s ‘What the Health?’ See you in court!
August 17, 2018 - New mobile phone application enables early detection of cerebral ictus
August 17, 2018 - AJMC addresses role of community pharmacies in boosting adult vaccination rates
August 17, 2018 - UK’s leading sight loss charity invites applications from brightest minds in ophthalmic research
August 17, 2018 - Alternative devices can help when autoinjectors are unavailable
August 17, 2018 - Researchers produce artificial placenta model that closely resembles natural organ
August 17, 2018 - Study offers possibility of squelching a focal epilepsy seizure before symptoms appear
August 17, 2018 - FDA Alert: Temporary Total Artificial Heart Companion 2 Driver System by SynCardia Systems: Letter to Health Care Providers
August 17, 2018 - New statewide program in North Dakota aims to stem opioid misuse
August 17, 2018 - Researchers discover why sepsis from a staph infection causes organ failure
August 17, 2018 - Stony Brook University’s new medical students start a transformative journey
August 17, 2018 - Revealed: The molecular mechanism underlying hypertrophic cardiomyopathy | News Center
August 17, 2018 - New modeling studies highlight urgent need for effective drug policy reforms to prevent HIV
Genetic make-up impacts long-term effectiveness of phobia treatment

Genetic make-up impacts long-term effectiveness of phobia treatment

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

Researchers have discovered that variations in the efficacy of psychological treatment for phobias are associated with the serotonin transporter gene.

Credit: Vladimir Zotov/Shutterstock.com

A phobia is an excessive and persistent irrational fear of an object, activity, animal, or situation. It cannot be overcome without treatment and is typically managed by avoiding the trigger or enduring the anxiety that accompanies encounters with the trigger.

It may be possible to avoid specific fears, such as fear of heights (acrophobia), however, avoidance is more difficult if the phobia is more generalised, such as a fear of public spaces (agoraphobia), and sufferers may need to alter their lives drastically in order to avoid triggers.

Exposure to the trigger can elicit distressing physical symptoms of anxiety, including palpitations, sweating, dizziness, and nausea. Consequently, people with a phobia are keen to avoid the trigger wherever possible and phobias often dictate the type of employment and social activities a person undertakes, the route taken to particular destinations, and their home environment.

Fear treatment usually includes some type of psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioural therapy to desensitize the patient from the trigger of a phobia through controlled exposure.

The research published this week reports a genetic link to the success of psychological treatment for fear. The study assessed the effect of serotonin transporter genotype on the outcome of fear treatment.

Over 200 adults with a specific phobia who were not receiving medication were recruited. The things of which the participants were highly fearful included spiders, dental surgeries, blood, and injections.

Each participant underwent a single exposure-based treatment session and was genotyped for the serotonin transporter gene. The level of subjective fear to the identified trigger was assessed before the session, immediately afterwards and again 7 months later.

The immediate effectiveness of the treatment did not differ by serotonin transporter genotype. However, at the 7-month assessment there was a significant difference in fear levels according to genotype.

Individuals who were homozygous for the L allele experienced a further decrease in fear levels, whereas carriers of the homozygous S allele displayed a strong return of fear.

The researchers concluded that genetic variation of the serotonin transporter gene is associated with differential stability of inhibitory learning processes, which heightens susceptibility to context-related processes.

Further studies are required to confirm these findings, but the scientists suggest that serotonin transporter genotype could provide a biomarker for the long-term outcome of brief exposure-based fear treatments. It may also be used for  genotype-based tailoring of psychotherapeutic interventions (personalized medicine).

Sources:

Journal of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics. Press release 18 April 2018.

Wannemüller A, et al. The Return of Fear: Variation of the Serotonin Transporter Gene Predicts Outcome of a Highly Standardized Exposure-Based One-Session Fear Treatment. Psychother. Psychosom. 2018;87:95–104.

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles