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We are all now connected by the Internet, like neurons in a giant brain.

 

Stephen Hawking

 

Brain circuit that controls anxiety levels discovered

RATE THIS! +69
Posted in Science on 25th Aug, 2013 03:45 AM by AlexMuller

Researchers at MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory  have discovered a communication pathway between two brain structures — the amygdala and the ventral hippocampus — that appears to control anxiety levels.

 

By turning the volume of this communication up and down in mice, the researchers were able to boost and reduce anxiety levels. The research could help find better drugs to treat anxiety.

 

Measuring anxiety

 

Both the hippocampus, which is necessary for memory formation, and the amygdala, which is involved in memory and emotion processing, have previously been implicated in anxiety. However, it was unknown how the two interact.

 

To study those interactions, the researchers turned to optogenetics, which uses a virus that allows them to genetically engineer neurons to turn their electrical activity on or off in response to light. For this study, the researchers modified a set of neurons in the basolateral amygdala (BLA); these neurons send long projections to cells of the ventral hippocampus.

 

The researchers tested the mice anxiety levels by measuring how much time they were willing to spend in a situation that normally makes them anxious. Mice are naturally anxious in open spaces where they are easy targets for predators, so when placed in such an area, they tend to stay near the edges.

 

When the researchers activated the connection between cells in the amygdala and the hippocampus, the mice spent more time at the edges of an enclosure, suggesting they felt anxious. When the researchers shut off this pathway, the mice became more adventurous and willing to explore open spaces. However, when these mice had this pathway turned back on, they scampered back to the security of the edges.

 

In future studies, the MIT team plans to investigate the effects of the amygdala on other targets in the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex, which has also been implicated in anxiety.

 

“The practical use of this innovation is the identification of a novel target for potential anxiety treatment,” Kay Tye, an assistant professor of brain and cognitive sciences and member of MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, explained to KurzweilAI. “While the time frame to translation to a treatment that could be used in humans is difficult to predict, we are taking the first step in developing more effective treatments for anxiety: identifying the critical neural substrates involved in controlling anxiety states.”



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Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-08-25
+6
Once again they are playing with the brain. If they can learn to lessen or increase anxiety, they have taken another step in controlling the mind. They are determined to learn mind control.
1 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-08-25
+3
Don't think this one has anything to do with mind control but then who knows maybe I could be wrong, first time this year I have been wrong, but not impossible I would say. lol Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-08-25
+6
Their flimsy excise that is for the treatment of people is just another way to assert their control. Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-08-25
+3
The amygdala and the ventral hippocampus, who would have thought it. Oh well, I have heard of the hippocampus actually but never heard of the amygdala before. But at my age that is not too surprising. Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-09-07
+0
zZMf6G Very neat blog post.Thanks Again. Really Cool. Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-09-12
+0
AuaWfT I truly appreciate this blog.Thanks Again. Much obliged. Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-09-13
+0
BS3YWf Really appreciate you sharing this blog post.Really looking forward to read more. Much obliged. Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-10-16
+0
CP4veN Awesome article post.Much thanks again. Cool. Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-10-23
+0
cjXhHO A round of applause for your blog.Much thanks again. Really Great. Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-11-21
+0
Thank you for that the sensible ciiurqte. Me & my neighbor were just preparing to do atiny research about this. We got a book out of our local library conversely I think I learned betterout of this post. I’m very glad to see such first-class info being sharedfreely out there. Reply


 

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