Mice quickly learn a fearful response to a situation perceived as threatening, but for such a conditioned response to become long-lasting requires brain cells to increase amounts of an insulating material called myelin, which may serve to reinforce and stabilize newly formed neural connections, scientists at UC San Francisco report. “We find that a single… Read more

Brief daily mindfulness training delivered through the HEADSPACE mindfulness app makes it easier to achieve lasting extinction of fear reactions, a new study indicates. Mindfulness has been shown to reduce negative emotions in both healthy individuals as well as patients with psychological problems. Studies have also shown that mindfulness is effective for treating clinical emotional… Read more

Rats are able to use other rats as danger antennas by attending to the emotions of the rats around them, researchers from the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience report[1]. With this finding, new targets for treatment of empathy disorders in humans, such as psychopathy and fronto-temporal dementia, could someday be possible. Rats are experts at avoiding… Read more

Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center traveled down the pathways in the brains of mice that trigger fear responses, and which normally extinguish the behaviors once the danger has passed, in order to explore how fear becomes entrenched. Their scientific journey, detailed recently in Nature Neuroscience[1], challenges conventional wisdom about how the brain is “remodeled”… Read more

Do bad dreams serve a real purpose? To answer this question, researchers from the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and University Hospitals of Geneva (HUG), Switzerland, working in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin (U.S.), analyzed the dreams of a number of people and identified which areas of the brain were activated when they experienced fear… Read more