Researchers Discover Brain Circuit that Controls Compulsive Overeating and Sugar Addiction

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Compulsive overeating and sugar addiction are major threats to human health, but potential treatments face the risk of impairing normal feeding behaviors that are crucial for survival. A study published January 29th in the journal Cell reveals a reward-related neural circuit that specifically controls compulsive sugar consumption in mice without preventing feeding necessary for survival, … Read More

Why Your Brain Makes It So Hard To Stop Eating

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Being overweight or obese usually isn’t really about the body – it’s about the brain. Overeating and compulsive eating are often about how the brain resorts back to ancient eating habits that are no longer relevant in today’s food-rich world. A new study now confirms that the brain circuits responsible for overeating are quite distinct from those … Read More

Newly identified brain circuit could be target for treating obesity

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Nerve cells that control overeating are distinct from those active in normal feeding, study shows Manipulating specific sets of brain cells can quash a mouse’s overindulgence of sugar. The cells are part of a previously unknown brain circuit that controls compulsive sugar consumption in mice, researchers report in the Jan. 29 Cell. This circuit appears … Read More

Brain Cells Behind Overeating

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Scientists have defined neurons responsible for excessive food consumption at an unprecedented level of detail. Two independent research teams have defined populations of neurons in the hypothalamus that are responsible for food-as-reward stimulation, but are likely not necessary to spur eating for survival. Both groups published their findings today (January 29) in Cell. “These are … Read More

Kay Tye named 2014 NYSCF – Robertson Investigator

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The Picower Institute congratulates Kay Tye, a Picower principal investigator and the Whitehead Career Development Assistant Professor in the MIT Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences who is one of six promising scientists the New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) recently selected to receive a $1.5 million award over the next five years. The NYSCF Investigator Program, designed … Read More

EmTech: Meet the Innovators Under 35 – Group 4

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EmTech Innovators Under 35

Identifying how the connections between regions of the brain contribute to anxiety. Kay Tye began her education as an undergraduate research assistant at MIT from 1999-2003. She continued her studies at the University of California, San Francisco as a graduate student in Patricia Janak’s lab studying electrophysiological properties of amygdala neurons both in vivo and … Read More

Distinct Amygdala Projections Control Opposing Behavioral Outputs

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Monday Night Neuroscience Seminars – Kay Tye, MIT – “Distinct Amygdala Projections Control Opposing Behavioral Outputs” The ability to differentiate between positive and negative environmental stimuli is critical to an animal’s survival. However, the neural circuits that endow the brain with the ability to differentiate positive and negative motivationally significant stimuli have been difficult to … Read More

Shining Light on Madness

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Shining Light on Madness

Drugs for psychiatric illnesses aren’t very effective. But new research is offering renewed hope for better medicines. Novartis’s research lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a large incubator-like piece of equipment is helping give birth to a new era of psychiatric drug discovery. Inside it, bathed in soft light, lab plates hold living human stem cells; robotic … Read More

A Common Brain Pathway for Anxiety and Social Behavior

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MIT neuroscientist Kay Tye finds a discrete brain circuit that controls social interaction, which is impaired in many brain disorders. Impaired social interaction is a common feature in autism, schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety, and it contributes to many of the problems that people with these conditions face. That is particularly true for adolescents with autism … Read More

Looking at a Bright Future: Optogenetics in your Lab

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Have you heard about optogenetics yet? If not, you soon will. Optogenetics techniques are sweeping neuroscience research. Named as the Method of the Year in 2010 by Nature Methods, optogenetics techniques are becoming widespread. The reason is clear: optogenetics offer the unprecedented ability to manipulate specific cells in real-time in freely behaving animals essentially by controlling a … Read More

Dissecting the Neural Circuits Mediating Anxiety

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Neurostimulation as a tool for Basic Science and Medicine.  Anxiety disorders are the single most-common class of psychiatric diseases, afflicting up to 28% of the adult population. Although human imaging studies have implicated the amygdala in anxiety, little is known about the functional role of individual microcircuits and distal circuits in terms of their individual … Read More