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Prozac Doesn't Stop Learning

Animal study finds antidepressant protects women from adverse effects of stress on learning

MONDAY, Nov. 4, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- Female rats who take Prozac retain their ability to learn after a stressful or traumatic event, says a Rutgers University study.

In women, depression is often accompanied by an inability to concentrate and learn, says study author Tracey J. Shors, an associate professor in the psychology department.

The study is being presented at this week's annual meeting of the Society for Neurosciences in Orlando, Fla.

Shors says her study shows that, as well as being an effective treatment for depression, Prozac also protects females from the adverse effects of stress on learning.

The study examined adult female rats treated with Prozac and a control group of rats that received no treatment. After a stressful event, learning was impaired in the control group, but not in the Prozac group.

The study also found that unstressed female rats treated with Prozac didn't differ in learning ability from unstressed, untreated female rats. That indicates that Prozac itself does not affect learning, Shors says.

More information

Learn more about depression at the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health.

SOURCE: Rutgers University, news release, Nov. 4, 2002
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