Potential 'stress vaccine' could help take the pressure off before it builds

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Seventy-eight percent of Americans say they feel stressed at work.

When you're stressed, your heart rate increases and your blood pressure rises which can put you at higher risk for heart attacks, stroke, obesity and depression.

Police officers, airline pilots, firefighters, and the military are the four most stressed-out professions.

There are pills to treat symptoms and therapy to talk through it.

"Currently what we really work with is after the fact," said rehabilitation psychologist Lisa Brenner.

But now Brenner and neuro-endocrinologist Christopher Lowry are targeting stress before it starts.

"If we could do something to prevent over responsivity," said Brenner.

Dr. Lowry's team didn't discover something new, but something old and abundant that could take away stress.

"Bacteria that are found in the soil that dust the mud, decaying vegetable, vegetable matter can confer this protective effect of preventing inappropriate inflammation," said Lowry.

The bacteria found in dirt contain fatty acids that bind with receptors inside immune cells and lockout chemicals that cause inflammation.

It's a vicious cycle where inflammation triggers stress and the stress then triggers more inflammation.

It's based on the idea that as more and more people move away from farms, away from agriculture and getting their hands dirty, they're moving away from things that build their immunity.

In mice, this 'stress vaccine' prevented a PTSD like syndrome in the short term and diminished stress reactions later on.

"This suggested that if you can immunize and prevent inappropriate inflammation, then you can prevent a lot of negative outcomes of future stressors," said Lowry.

That means a vaccine, a pill, a nasal spray could stop stress and everything that comes with it before you get the chance to feel stressed out!
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