AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 2, 2017

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Origins of 'Rage' Identified in Brain in Male Animal Model

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According to a report published in Current Biology, aggression in male mice has been linked to changes in a brain structure tied to the control of anxiety and fear. It was found that “septal rage” stemmed from damage, or lost function, in the animals’ lateral septum. These sudden, violent acts have long been seen in rodents with a damaged lateral septum, and in some birds, researchers say. “Our latest findings show how the lateral septum in mice plays a gatekeeping role, simultaneously ‘pushing down the brake’ and ‘lifting the foot off the accelerator’ of violent behavior,” says study senior investigator Dayu Lin, PhD, and assistant professor at NYU Langone’s Druckenmiller Neuroscience Institute. Septal rage is not known to occur in humans, but studying the occurrences of aggression in male mice may shed light on brain function in other forms of aggression, including violent behavior in humans. According to Lin, “Our research provides what we believe is the first evidence that the lateral septum directly ‘turns the volume up or down’ in aggression in male mice, and it establishes the first ties between this region and the other key brain regions involved in violent behavior.” To learn more about this study, click here.

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