Courage Neurons in the hippocampus

Why are some people comfortable walking at the top of the skyscrapers or jumping into the pool from very high places? In a recent study, scientists found that a particular type of cell in the hippocampus (the temporal lobe in the brain, a region associated with learning and memory) played a key role in this issue.
When it comes to doing dangerous work, people are quite different. Even in terms of risk taking behaviors, siblings are significantly different from each other. A large part of the neural mechanism governing the risk taking behavior is unknown. Scientists from the Neuroscience Department at Uppsala University in Switzerland and at the Brain Institute of the Rio Grande Do Norte University in Brazil have discovered that some cells in the hippocampus play a key role in risk taking behavior and anxiety disorder.
In the study published in Nature Communications, when neurons known as OLM cells were stimulated; animals in a dangerous environment were shown to create a brain rhythm that they felt safe for example (for example, while animals were hiding from a predator, they were also aware of the proximity of the hunter). In the study, it was shown that anxiety disorder and risk taking behavior could be controlled by intervention of OLM cells. Finding a way to regulate the risk taking behavior quickly and precisely is very important to treat pathological anxiety disorder. Because decreasing risk taking behavior is a feature in people with high anxiety disorders.
The normal level of anxiety is necessary to survive, because it protects us from harm. Unfortunately, a large number of people today may have anxiety disorders and may increase significantly in daily life. In this case, doctors apply antidepressants to improve the anxiety disorder in patients. However, these drugs are effective not only on the region of the brain, but also on all regions of the brain, and therefore serious side effects may occur. Thus, interfering with a particular group of cells to act on a single brain region and control anxiety disorders may be an important milestone for treating disorders such as anxiety disorder and associated depression. Another interesting finding in this study is that OLM cells can be controlled by pharmacological agents. In previous studies, the same research group, The hippocampus had found that OLM cells were guards of memory and were very sensitive to nicotine. This finding may explain why people smoke more when they are worried.
The role of the hippocampus in emotions is much less studied than in memory. In the past decade, scientists have begun to understand the role of the hippocampus in regulating emotions. Different regions in the brain control certain behaviors and these regions are in communication with each other. The elucidation of specific neural networks underlying cognitive and emotional processes is vital for understanding the general function of the brain and for the development of more specific drugs for the treatment of diseases. The discovery of these neurons and their role in anxiety disorders and risk-taking behaviors may be a convenient way to develop more effective antidepressants that do not have common side effects such as insensitivity.

Source: learn


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