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Monica Seles, Mick Jagger and Ariana Grande all have been diagnosed with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

PTSD can kick in after any kind of trauma, causing disturbing thoughts and feelings, flashbacks or nightmares, and profound sadness, fear or anger. Clearly, it is no laughing matter.

But tell that to researchers from the University of Chicago Medicine and Stanford University Medical School. In a small pilot study of three veterans with PTSD, ages 31 to 46, they found that a one-hour dose of 50% nitrous oxide — aka laughing gas — and 50% oxygen can ease symptoms. For one of the volunteers, improvement lasted for a full week; for a second, symptoms returned gradually over the week; and for the third, improvements lasted from two hours after treatment until the next day. Nitrous oxide seems to work by blocking the same receptor (NMDA) that the recently approved antidepressant medicine ketamine blocks.

It's estimated that around 30% of those diagnosed never recover. So the addition of this new treatment option — with no significant side effects — should put a smile on the face of those who treat and those who contend with PTSD.


(c)2020 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

King Features Syndicate

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