Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

What bat brains might tell us about human brains

Date:
March 4, 2014
Source:
Georgetown University Medical Center
Summary:
Could a new finding in bats help unlock a mystery about the human brain? Likely so, say researchers who have shown that a small region within the amygdala, an almond-shaped structure in the brains of all mammals, is responsible for producing emotional calls and sounds. They say this discovery might be key to locating a similar center in human brains.

Could a new finding in bats help unlock a mystery about the human brain? Likely so, say researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center who have shown that a small region within the amygdala, an almond-shaped structure in the brains of all mammals, is responsible for producing emotional calls and sounds. They say this discovery might be key to locating a similar center in human brains.

Related Articles


Localizing and manipulating this center in the human brain may provide a way to treat malfunctions in emotional responses, resulting, for example, in pathological aggression, says the study's senior investigator, Jagmeet S. Kanwal, PhD, associate professor of neurology at Georgetown. On the flip side, he says it may be possible to "give voice to the voiceless -- allow those who are deeply withdrawn, perhaps even mute due to aberrant wiring in the amygdala, to speak."

Research points to the possibility of such a center in humans: functional imaging has already shown that the human amygdala -- like the bat's amygdala -- responds to species-specific emotive sounds, such as laughing and crying, Kanwal says.

But electrostimulation research is difficult to do in humans because of the invasive nature of deep brain stimulation studies.

Working with mustached bats, Kanwal and his Georgetown co-author, research associate Jie Ma, now at Harvard Medical School, report their findings in the journal Frontiers in Physiology. They are the first to demonstrate the production of multiple physiological effects, what they call "full blown emotive responses, including vocalizations" from single point of stimulation within the amygdala. For example, giving one cluster of neurons a tiny dash of electricity made the bats produce angry sounds, while simultaneously increasing their breathing and heart rates, says Kanwal.

Stimulation at other points produced a vocalized fear response, heightened vigilance, even ear-twitching -- all accompanied by appropriate physiological responses.

It makes sense that mammals would share such a critical brain function, Kanwal adds.

"Emotions are designed for survival," Kanwal says. "The world humans and animals experience depends entirely on how sensory stimuli are perceived and processed through an emotional filter."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Georgetown University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jie Ma, Jagmeet S. Kanwal. Stimulation of the basal and central amygdala in the mustached bat triggers echolocation and agonistic vocalizations within multimodal output. Frontiers in Physiology, 2014; 5 DOI: 10.3389/fphys.2014.00055

Cite This Page:

Georgetown University Medical Center. "What bat brains might tell us about human brains." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140304162006.htm>.
Georgetown University Medical Center. (2014, March 4). What bat brains might tell us about human brains. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 4, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140304162006.htm
Georgetown University Medical Center. "What bat brains might tell us about human brains." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140304162006.htm (accessed March 4, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Former NFL Players Donate Brains to Science

Former NFL Players Donate Brains to Science

Reuters - US Online Video (Mar. 3, 2015) Super Bowl champions Sidney Rice and Steve Weatherford donate their brains, post-mortem, to scientific research into repetitive brain trauma. Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Alzheimer's Protein Plaque Found In 20-Year-Olds

Alzheimer's Protein Plaque Found In 20-Year-Olds

Newsy (Mar. 3, 2015) Researchers found an abnormal protein associated with Alzheimer&apos;s disease in the brains of 20-year-olds. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
This Nasal Treatment Could Help Ease Migraine Pain

This Nasal Treatment Could Help Ease Migraine Pain

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) Researchers gave lidocaine to 112 patients, and about 88 percent of the subjects said they needed less migraine-relief medicine the next day. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

Newsy (Mar. 1, 2015) Margaret Duffy of the University of Missouri talks about her study on the social network and the envy and depression that Facebook use can cause. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins