How the brain handles fear

The brains chemical handle on the fear reaction

Associate Professor Bo Li and post doctorate fellow Mario Penzo at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), and Stony Brook University's Jason Tucciarone have researched where the fear of danger comes from in the brain and what causes it. They tested it on mice, experimenting with  the neurons in the posterior PVT (pPVT) that were communicating with the lateral division of the central amygdala (CeL), where neuroscientists say is a site of fear memories. They also had to figure out what the messenger of this was. The researchers hypothesized that the messenger might be brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein known to regulate synaptic functions. To test it they tested mice that didn't have BDNF and they showed no sign of recognizing danger. When it was reintroduced then they showed to recognize danger.

My reaction to this experiment is tied. I do not like animal testing but now we know more about where and how we get the fear response that we get. Now we know what neurons and messengers are used to get that feeling of important urgency and danger through our minds. In case people are incapable of it, now maybe we can fix that by understanding the way it works a bit more. I like the idea that people research this kind of thing. I feel like with more research on this kind of thing we could possibly come to understand why that super human strength thing happens when our mind decides we are in a dire situation, and maybe even why some people just freeze. A lot more could be done with research of this type.

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