Strange Science: Suppression of Fear

Diagram of a human brainScientists at Texas A&M University have recently identified a portion of the brain in rats that inhibits fear, which may ultimately lead to new ways to treat conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The nucleus reuniens, a small brain region in the thalamus, was previously believed to primarily function as a pathway for the transmission of sensory information from the periphery of the brain to the central portion of the brain, the cortex, where complex thought takes place. When scientists recognized this secondary function, they found ways to deactivate the nucleus reuniens in rats to prevent the rats from suppressing their fear response.

Further studies in this area are certain to be forthcoming, for for the time being, you can read about this preliminary work here.

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