A hormone known to play an important role in wakefulness may also be a key player in triggering panic attacks, according to results of recent animal and human studies.
An international team of scientists probing the molecular basis of panic disorder found elevated levels of the hormone, orexin, in the cerebrospinal fluid of humans with the disorder and discovered that blocking its effects in a rat model of the disorder inhibits physiological changes and behaviors associated with panic (Johnson PL et al. Nat Med. 2009;16:111-115).
Kuehn BM. Hormone May Play Role in Triggering Panic Attacks. JAMA. 2010;303(6):498. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.72