Researchers have identified specific neurons and networks that regulate 'sundowning', a phenomenon commonly seen in Alzheimer's patients who exhibit worsening confusion and aggression levels at the end of the day.
When a mouse senses a threat, neurons in the ventromedial hypothalamus become activated and remain active for ten seconds after the threat is removed. Fear responses could be induced by artificially stimulating these neurons. Artificially silencing the neurons reduced fear behavior.
Study identifies rare brain cell types that are unique to male mice, and others that are unique to females. The cells were discovered in the hypothalamus, a region of the brain that governs both aggression and mating behaviors.
Researchers report on why some people may experience increasing levels of aggression at the end of the day. The study reports the scientists have developed new gene editing tools to help turn of cells that cause sundowning behaviors.