7 talks about fruit flies

Originally posted on TED Blog:

Fruit-Fly“Raise your hand if you think that basic research on fruit flies has anything to do with understanding mental illness in humans,” David Anderson begins today’s talk, given at TEDxCaltech.

[ted_talkteaser id=1689]While few hands shoot in the air, Anderson goes on to explain the connection — that research conducted by manipulating brain chemicals in fruit flies is giving us valuable insight into the brain circuitry of emotions and mental illness. And these neural underpinnings are more complex than many think.

“We tend to believe — and the popular press aids and abets this view — that [psychiatric disorders] are a chemical imbalance in the brain,” says Anderson. “As if the brain were some kind of bag of chemical soup full of dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine.”

The brain circuitry of mental disorders are complex, and yet the medications we’ve used to treat them for the past two decades work…

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