Neuroscience

Hypothalamus pathway drives defense behaviors

Scientists have identified a previously unknown pathway connecting the hypothalamus and midbrain that drives defensive behaviors, according to research in mice published in eNeuro. Further research on this pathway could increase ...

Neuroscience

Untangling the brain's life-support network

The portion of the brain known as the hypothalamus is small but mighty—it controls fundamental behaviors and physiology that are essential for survival. These include eating and drinking, sexual and defensive behaviors, ...

Neuroscience

Exploring hypothalamic circuits, one neuron at a time

A collaborative team from UConn Storrs and The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine characterized neuron diversity in the lateral hypothalamic area (LHA), a critical coordinator of fundamental behaviors in the brain. Using ...

Neuroscience

Unexpected link found between feeding and memory brain areas

The search for a mechanism that could explain how the protein complex NCOR1/2 regulates memory has revealed an unexpected connection between the lateral hypothalamus and the hippocampus, the feeding and the memory centers ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

In depression the brain region for stress control is larger

Although depression is one of the leading psychiatric disorders in Germany, its cause remains unclear. A recent study at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences (MPI CBS) in Leipzig, Germany, found ...

Neuroscience

Nature or nurture? Innate social behaviors in the mouse brain

Adult male mice have a simple repertoire of innate, or instinctive, social behaviors: When encountering a female, a male mouse will try to mate with it, and when encountering another male, the mouse will attack. The animals ...

Medical research

Obese inducing brain mechanism

Leptin is an adipocyte-derived hormone that stimulates hypothalamic neurons to strongly inhibit food intake. Leptin signaling in the hypothalamus, a part of the mid-brain, thus plays a crucial role in the regulation of body ...

Neuroscience

Manipulating a single gene defines a new pathway to anxiety

Removing a single gene from the brains of mice and zebrafish causes these animals to become more anxious than normal. Researchers from University of Utah Health show that eliminating the gene encoding Lef1 disrupts the development ...

Medical research

Brain cells found to control aging

Scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine have found that stem cells in the brain's hypothalamus govern how fast aging occurs in the body. The finding, made in mice, could lead to new strategies for warding off age-related ...

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Hypothalamus

The hypothalamus is a portion of the brain that contains a number of small nuclei with a variety of functions. One of the most important functions of the hypothalamus is to link the nervous system to the endocrine system via the pituitary gland (hypophysis). The hypothalamus, (from Greek ὑποθαλαμος = under the thalamus) is located below the thalamus, just above the brain stem. In the terminology of neuroanatomy, it forms the ventral part of the diencephalon. All vertebrate brains contain a hypothalamus. In humans, it is roughly the size of an almond.

The hypothalamus is responsible for certain metabolic processes and other activities of the Autonomic Nervous System. It synthesizes and secretes neurohormones, often called hypothalamic-releasing hormones, and these in turn stimulate or inhibit the secretion of pituitary hormones. The hypothalamus controls body temperature, hunger, thirst, fatigue, and circadian cycles.

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