Nothing to fear but suffocation

Nothing to fear but suffocation

People with a rare brain disorder don’t get scared — except when they breathe carbon dioxide

By Laura Sanders, 16:10 PM February 3, 2013

Not all fear is the same. A woman who laughs at horror movies, grabs dangerous snakes and calmly deals with knife-wielding men nonetheless surrenders to terror at a single puff of suffocating carbon dioxide.

This woman, known as SM, has a disease that damaged her amygdala, a brain structure implicated in fear. But the new results involving her and two others with the same disease, published online February 3 in Nature Neuroscience, show that a certain kind of danger signal can bypass th...

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