Brain circuitry of positive vs negative memories discovered in mice

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Prior to the new study, scientists suspected involvement of the circuits ultimately implicated, but were stumped by a seeming paradox. A crossroads of convergent circuits in an emotion hub deep in the brain, thebasolateral amygdala, seem to be involved in both fear and reward learning, but how one brain region could orchestrate such opposing behaviors … Read More

Why map brains?

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How could we benefit from better brain maps? ‘With deep brain stimulation (DBS), you’re just poking around in the dark. Stimulating brain cells with light probes rather than electrical DBS probes would be a marked improvement. We can identify targets for more effective treatments, with fewer side effects, by using these new light-based tools to … 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

An On-Off Switch for Anxiety

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An On-Off Switch for Anxiety

Researchers discover a brain circuit that can instantly dampen—or exacerbate—anxiety in mice. With the flick of a precisely placed light switch, mice can be induced to cower in a corner in fear or bravely explore their environment. The study highlights the power of optogeneticstechnology—which allows neuroscientists to control genetically engineered neurons with light—to explore the … Read More