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Soon, a single jab to cure phobias

health-and-fitness Updated: Mar 24, 2010 17:13 IST

Highlight Story

Researchers from University of Hiroshima have found a novel way to cure fears.

They said that injecting a common local anaesthetic directly into the brain may cure fears. The research team conducted the experiments on goldfish that were taught to become afraid when a light was flashed.

'The goldfish soon became afraid of the flash of light because, whether or not we actually gave them a shock, they had quickly learned to expect one," quoted lead researcher Professor Masayuki Yoshida as saying.

The team discovered that fish which had been injected in the cerebellum with the anaesthetic lidocaine an hour before the experiment began had stable heart rates and showed no signs of fear when the light was shone.

The cerebellum is the part of the brain that handles basic emotions in people such as fear and pleasure. In fish, it was known to be involved in learning and movement.