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Friday, November 12, 2010

Scientists gain a better understanding of how fear occurs in our brain

According to new research which was published at the http:/www.sciencedaily.com website, scientists have gained a better understanding of how humans come to evoke a fear response.This new understanding also relates to a better understanding of the "fear circuit" in the human brain."These scientific researchers have discovered that a microcircuit in the amygdala that controls, or "gates," the outflow of fear from that region of the brain."
"Fear begins in your brain, and it is there -- specifically in an almond-shaped structure called the amygdala -- that it is controlled, processed and let out of the gate to kick off the rest of the fear response."
The microcircuit in question, a scientist named  David J. Anderson, the Benzer Professor of Biology at Caltech and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator " explains, contains two subtypes of neurons that are antagonistic -- have opposing functions -- and that control the level of fear output from the amygdala by acting like a seesaw."
"Imagine that one end of a seesaw is weighted and normally sits on a garden hose, preventing water -- in this analogy, the fear impulse -- from flowing through it," says Anderson. "When a signal that triggers a fear response arrives, it presses down on the opposite end of the seesaw, lifting the first end off the hose and allowing fear, like water, to flow." Once the flow of fear has begun, that impulse can be transmitted to other regions of the brain that control fearful behavior, such as freezing in place.
"Now that we know about this 'seesaw' mechanism," he adds, "it may someday provide a new target for developing more specific drugs for treating fear-based psychiatric illnesses like post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias, or anxiety disorders."
"The key to understanding this delicate mechanism, Anderson says, was in uncovering "markers" -- genes that would identify and allow for the scientists to discriminate between the different neuronal cell types in the amygdala. Anderson's group, led by postdoctoral fellow Wulf Haubensak, found its marker in a gene that encodes an enzyme known as protein kinase C-delta (PKCĪ“). PKCĪ“ is expressed in about half the neurons within a subdivision of the amygdala's central nucleus, the part of the amygdala that controls fear output."

Source:http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101110131210.htm

This new research  concering the functioning of the "fear cicuit" in the Human brain certainly gives those of us who experience anxiety some hope,that these findings may be used to find new ways or new longer-lasting or more effective medication to help us deal with these sensations which are so hard to deal with on a daily basis!
Source of image:http://www.topnews.in/health/files/Brain-circuits.jpg

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Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed



Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia



A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed



Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein



The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi



The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller



Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns



Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama



Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -



Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being



The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.