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Decoded: ‘Anxiety cells’ reside in your brain

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Brain

New York, Feb 3: A team of US neuroscientists has identified “anxiety cells” in the brains of mice, an advance that may boost the treatment of humans suffering from anxiety disorders.

The researchers found the cells inside a structure called the hippocampus, a region of the brain vital for learning and memory. But the cells probably exist in humans as well, said Rene Hen, Professor at Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC).

These cells were found to fire when the animal is anxious, triggering anxiety-related behaviours.

“We call these anxiety cells because they only fire when the animals are in places that are innately frightening to them,” Hen said.

“For a mouse, that’s an open area where they’re more exposed to predators, or an elevated platform,” Hen added.

The firing of the anxiety cells sends messages to other parts of the brain that turn on anxious behaviours, in mice, those include avoiding the dangerous area or fleeing to a safe zone.

Though many other cells in the brain have been identified as playing a role in anxiety, the cells found in this study are the first known to represent the state of anxiety, regardless of the type of environment that provokes the emotion, the researchers said.

In the study, appearing in the journal Neuron, the team used a technique called optogenetics to control the activity of neurons using beams of light, the researchers found that the anxiety cells control anxiety behaviours.

When the cells were silenced, the mice stopped producing fear-related behaviours, wandering onto elevated platforms and away from protective walls.

When the anxiety cells were stimulated, the mice exhibited more fear behaviours even when they were in “safe” surroundings.

“This is exciting because it represents a direct, rapid pathway in the brain that lets animals respond to anxiety-provoking places without needing to go through higher-order brain regions,” said Mazen Kheirbek, Assistant Professor at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

“Now that we have found these cells in the hippocampus, it opens up new areas for exploring treatment ideas that we didn’t know existed before,” said Jessica Jimenez, a doctoral student at CUMC.

IANS

Election

With Fadnavis, Covid drives 4 prominent BJP leaders out of Bihar campaign

On Saturday, Devendra Fadnavis, in-charge of the election, also tested positive, providing a setback to the BJP.

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Devendra Fadnavis

Patna: The Covid-19 virus is making its presence conspicuous in the Bihar assembly elections.

BJP’s election in-charge and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis also tested corona positive on Saturday.

With this a quartet of prominent BJP leaders have been compelled to keep away from campaigning in Bihar because of testing positive for Coronavirus.

Talking about corona-infected leaders, former state deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi, star campaigner and former union minister Shahnawaz Hussain and MP Rajiv Pratap Rudy have also tested positive.

Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi and Shahnawaz Hussain are undergoing treatment at AIIMS.

On Saturday, Devendra Fadnavis, in-charge of the election, also tested positive, providing a setback to the BJP.

All these leaders have had to keep away from electioneering and go into isolation.

On Saturday, Fadnavis appealed to those who came in contact with him to exercise the necessary vigilance.

BJP sources said, the BJP may end up facing some degree of difficulty in election management, but the national party has a number of other prominent political leaders.

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Everybody in India must get Covid vaccine free, says Kejriwal

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COVID-19 Vaccine

New Delhi: According to the Delhi government, every Indian must get the Coronavirus vaccine free of cost, whenever it is ready.

The BJP has included the promise of providing the Covid-19 vaccine free of cost in its manifesto issued for the Bihar assembly elections, stirring up a political controversy.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Saturday, “The entire country must get a free vaccine. It is the right of every citizen in the country,” Kejriwal said on the sidelines of an event in which he inaugurated two flyovers.

Earlier, the Aam Aadmi Party had said that those who do not vote for the BJP must also get free vaccine.

More than 3.48 lakh corona infections have been reported in Delhi so far. Over 6,000 persons have died of Corona in Delhi. There are more than 26,000 active cases in the national Capital.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said in Bihar’s election manifesto that every person in Bihar would be given free Covid-19 vaccine once it is ready.

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Health

Harsh Vardhan expresses hope that Covid-19 vaccine will be made available in country by January next year

Dr Harsh Vardhan also appealed to the people to follow Covid appropriate behaviuor to check the spread of virus in view of the coming festive seasons.

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Vaccine Covid

Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan has expressed hope that Covid-19 vaccine will be made available in the country by January next year.

Speaking at a programme on DD News, Dr Vardhan said there are three vaccine candidates in India, out of which one is at the advanced stage of clinical trial of phase-3. Of the other two vaccine candidates, which are in clinical trial of phase-2, one has recently entered the third phase trial.

Dr Vardhan also said, if the preparations in this regard made so far progress well then 400 to 500 million doses of the Covid vaccine will be available in the country before June and July of next year.

Dr Harsh Vardhan also appealed to the people to follow Covid appropriate behaviuor to check the spread of virus in view of the coming festive seasons.

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