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Anxiety switch makes mice shy no more

Brain-control experiments could help understand psychiatric disorders

3:13pm, March 9, 2011

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With a flip of a switch, researchers can make a mouse can shed its anxious, shy demeanor. The scientists can dial mouse anxiety up or down by lighting up a very specific connection between two parts of the brain.

The results, reported online March 9 in Nature, “gets us that much closer to understanding how the [anxiety] system works or how it doesn’t work in clinical cases,” says neuroscientist and psychiatrist Kerry Ressler, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at Emory University in Atlanta who was not involved in the study. The results, he says, will help researchers gain a deeper understanding of circuits in the human brain important for ps

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