Category Archives: function

Anxiety and fruit flies


There are many lovely TED talks about anxiety and mental disorders but I recently watched one about some research using fruit flies to determine brain function. So interesting to realise that the brain is superbly complicated and yet we can actually get to understand things at molecular as well as genetic level.

Can you untangle the mind of a fly and genetically modify the circuit? Well yes!

Who would have thought. And this has taught us – the human race quite a lot about the finesse of operations of the brain.

The brain is not a bag of chemical soup and we can not change the flavour of the soup to treat psychiatric disorders. This specific researcher likens using “broad spectrum” anti-depressants to treat disorders to pouring oil over the whole engine rather than into the oil holder. WE need to be more specific in order to get better results and have fewer side-effects.

On another note, the brain is also intuitive and there are many many ways in terms of anxiety that one can tone down or up. Deep “proper” breathing is one of them. Also our bodies are designed to move a whole lot more than we do these days and you will be surprised at how much you can unwind your mind by winding and unwinding your body.

Food for thought – fruit flies brains can actually teach us a whole lot about our wonderfully complex brains and yet some of the answers we so desperately seek are actually in front of our very own eyes.

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Arborisation – broccoli brain – a good thing


The brain is amazing – we all know this. However it is indeed more and more amazing the further we actually delve into it so to speak.

Our brains have endless connections we know this, but the extent is far greater than we ever thought. And the more you create connections – arborisation – lots of little broccoli chains – the better it functions, the more “healthy” it is and the easier it is to maintain ” brain health”.

Without a brain we are not human. Rice and mice etc have far fewer connections they also have far fewer glial cells. Now what are those? Glial cells are the “support” cells to the neurons. Before we thought that depression happened due to low transmitter levels and whilst this is true there is a lot more to the story. The glial or helper, support cells all play a role – a critical role in the homeostasis – healthy brain – this is brand new information.

Why is this important?? Well because we can now see that “inflammation” damages these glial cells and contributes to depression and other mental unwellness.

Why is this at all important. Well because the diabetes epidemic seems to be running along fairly parallel with the increase in depression that we see and perhaps the path towards both is similar. And also it means that preaching against fast food, rubbish, coke – the devil etc, becomes even more paramount.

It also means that exercise is a viable and excellent co-treatment modality. Yes I said exercise. It works even for depression.

This is actually super exciting because it means we have a means to tackle things like diabetes and depression right through from prevention to cure!

And we can all exercise and eat well. NO excuse! There are endless options on both fronts, unleash your creativity today and start to eat well and exercise.