Research conducted by scientists from Columbia University and the University of Columbia has determined how anxiety could affect the brain.
While the study is on mice, the researchers believe their findings have the potential to drastically benefit people who suffer from anxiety.
Mice tend to be afraid of open areas, so the researchers placed them in a maze that contained some wider spaces and observed, specifically monitoring their brain activity – the bottom of the hippocampus, the component of the brain that regulates emotion – when the mice began feeling anxious.
When the mice entered the open areas of the maze, the researchers noted the cells at the bottom of the hippocampus becoming more anxious. The team then decided to try and alter the activity of these ‘anxiety cells’, which involves using light to control cells in living tissue, to see if it would help calm the mice down.
It did. The mice became less anxious