Traumatic experiences could soon be no more than a distant memory thanks to a ground-breaking pill.

London - Traumatic experiences could soon be no more than a distant memory thanks to a ground-breaking pill.

Scientists have unlocked some of the secrets of how the brain deals with stress - paving the way for a drug that eases painful memories.

Within a decade we could have a pill that would help those haunted by car crashes, as well as sufferers of crippling phobias.

The Leicester University research could also provide the foundation for new treatments for depression.

Mice genetically engineered to be unable to make a protein called lipocalin-2 reacted to stress more severely than other animals.

Tests tracked this back to changes in junctions that brain cells use to communicate with each other.

Mice lacking the protein had fewer “mushroom-shaped” junctions vital for learning and consolidating memories, the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports.

Researcher Dr Robert Pawlak said: “Mushroom spines help us remember things we once learned - but it is not always good.

“We have identified a protein that the brain produces in response to stress in order to reduce the number of mushroom spines and therefore reduce future anxiety associated with stressful events.” - Daily Mail