Fear of a particular thing can cause anxiety, and is difficult to treat. Conventional treatments, the NHS says, often require cognitive behavioural therapy, or gradual exposure to your fear by spending more time with the thing that concerns you.
Now, scientists might have come up with an answer, and it doesn’t require you having to confront the fear head on.
This technique is meant to desensitise people to the thing that they are frightened of, over a period of time, but can be traumatic.
Now a new study has discovered that a small injection of embryonic brain cells into the fear-control-centre of your brain could erase the fear.
Using mice, a team at Fudan University in China, took cells from mice embryos and injected neurons into mice that had anxieties of particular noises.
They also did a placebo with dead cells in another control group of rodents.
The results showed that while a transplant alone was not able to prevent the mice from developing new fears, nor help them overcome existing ones, it was successful when coupled with another treatment.
The combined use of the brain cell transplant and extinction training – a therapy designed to reverse fear associations – did work.
In fact, just two weeks after the surgery, the team found that a fear response was three times less likely to return in the mice if they had received the live transplant rather than the other cells.
More surprisingly, the transplant had also been able to turn the amygdalae (an almond sized part of the brain that receives the donor cells) back from a mature to a juvenile stage.
The team hopes that this could be turned into treatment for PTSD in the future.