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Stress hormones for phobias? An idea so crazy, it just might work!

The hormone that triggers a pounding heart, clammy hands and a sense of impending danger is not the first thing you might think of to help a person overcome his deepest fears. But a study published Tuesday found that acrophobic subjects who took cortisol an hour before a session of exposure therapy were able to tame their clinical fear of heights better than those who took a dummy pill.The trial's findings, conducted at the University of Basel in Switzerland and published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, might seem counterintuitive. But they are built on two lines of research. The first suggests that fearful memories have become inextricably tangled up with...

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