New research highlights the neural circuits involved in the balance between seeking food and preventing potential harm

New research on the brain mechanisms regulating animals’ decision to seek food in a threatening environment, from the lab of Fabricio Do Monte, DVM, PhD, assistant professor of neurobiology and anatomy, has been published in Nature Communications.

First author for the paper titled “A hypothalamic-thalamostriatal circuit that controls approach-avoidance conflict in rats,” is Douglas Engelke, PhD, postdoctoral fellow, while graduate student Xu Zhang, is the second author.

“In nature, animals are constantly exposed to conflicting situations that involve both rewarding and risking components, challenging them to make decisions to maximize survival rate,” the authors wrote. “These processes are well-conserved across species, and maladaptive behaviors during these conflicting situations in humans may explain the high prevalence of comorbidity between anxiety disorders and eating disorders.”

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