Thursday, 26 March 2009
Who's For Soma Then?
"By this time the soma had begun to work. Eyes shone, cheeks were flushed, the inner light of universal benevolence broke out on every face in happy, friendly smiles. Even Bernard felt himself a little melted." (Aldus Huxley-Brave New World)
Just finished reading Huxley's 'Brave New World' and as would be expected, many ideas and emotions are flying round in my mind. This magnificent book has hit me like a jack hammer, jolting my perceptions with a 'We are doomed' cattle prod and reinforcing some existing opinions on the world.
Huxley's happiness drug 'Soma' which was referred to as having, "All the advantages of Christianity and alcohol; none of their defects," is something that resonated with me while reading.
The last few decades have seen the use of mood stabilizers and anti depressants as part of daily life in the West.
Doctors, at the beckon call of their pharmaceutical company paymasters, have been dishing out these tablets like there is no tomorrow, reinforcing the idea that internal problems can be solved externally.
I was doing a bit of searching on this topic on the net and found this article on 'The Rabbit Hole' blog.
'Scientists have been chasing after a fear-numbing pill in an effort to create the “Guilt-Free Soldier.”
Dutch scientists believe the heart drug propranolol can double as a deadener of painful memories in people with P.T.S.D. Just knowing such a pill is out there, of course, might also encourage soldiers to commit atrocities, because they will no longer have to live with the pain they have created'.
Here is a Brief Communication Abstract from the conducted study.
[By Merel Kindt, Marieke Soeter & Bram Vervliet, Nature.com | Sunday, 15 February, 2009.]
Animal studies have shown that fear memories can change when recalled, a process referred to as reconsolidation.
We found that oral administration of the adrenergic receptor antagonist propranolol before memory reactivation in humans erased the behavioral expression of the fear memory 24 h later and prevented the return of fear. Disrupting the reconsolidation of fear memory opens up new avenues for providing a long-term cure for patients with emotional disorders.
Thanks to 'The Rabbit Hole' for bring this story to my attention.