Neuroscience

REM sleep tunes eating behaviour

Despite our broad understanding of the different brain regions activated during rapid-eye-movement sleep, little is known about what this activity serves for. Researchers at the University of Bern and the Inselspital have ...

Neuroscience

How experiencing traumatic stress leads to aggression

Traumatic stress can cause aggression by strengthening two brain pathways involved in emotion, according to research recently published in JNeurosci. Targeting those pathways via deep brain stimulation may stymie aggression ...

Obstetrics & gynaecology

Study finds key brain region smaller in birth control pill users

Researchers studying the brain found that women taking oral contraceptives, commonly known as birth control pills, had significantly smaller hypothalamus volume, compared to women not taking the pill, according to a new study ...

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, ...

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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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