University of Southern California researchers have found that pathological rage in mice can be blocked, and they believe this discovery can lead to treatment for humans who are severely aggressive.
"From a clinical and social point of view, reactive aggression is absolutely a major problem," says Marco Bortolato, lead author of the study and research assistant professor of pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences at the USC School of Pharmacy, in a press statement. "We want to find the tools that might reduce impulsive violence."
Bortolato and other researchers have found a genetic predisposition to pathological aggression: low levels of the enzyme monoamine oxidase A. As a result, both male humans and mice with "congenital deficiency of the enzyme respond violently in response to stress," the press statement says.
Scientists are now looking into drug treatment for this problem.
"Aggressive behaviors have a profound socioeconomic impact, yet current strategies to reduce these staggering behaviors are extremely unsatisfactory," Bortolato says in the press statement. "Our challenge now is to understand what pharmacological tools and what therapeutic regimens should be administered to stabilize the deficits of this receptor. If we can manage that, this could truly be an important finding."
Not only rage-aholics could benefit from this research, USC researchers say, but it's considered a "significant breakthrough" in starting to create drug treatments for Alzheimer's disease, autism, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other psychological disorders.
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