Explained the origin of nightmares

Explained the origin of nightmares

If to scare rats while they are awake, the fear center of their brain is activated again when they go to sleep. This may explain why people who have experienced fear in the afternoon, I often see nightmares. Details of research scholars from new York University can be found in Nature Neuroscience.

Special map day memories stored in rats in the hippocampus — the steam room the curved structure of the brain. Various locations in the hippocampus are activated separate groups of neurons. When the rats ran through the maze of different neurons are sequentially activated place in the hippocampus.

Later scientists noticed the same sequence of activity when the rats were sleeping. “As if they dreamt their daily route through the maze,” said author of the study Gabrielle Girardeau.

Scientists decided to find out whether such repeated activity affect not only spatial information but also the health of the animal while running through the maze. For this, the researchers in a certain place of the route rats “sprinkle” them in the face with a strong jet of air. As expected, the rats soon began to fear and avoid that particular place. In addition to monitoring the hippocampus, the researchers recorded the activity in the amygdala structure of the brain that becomes active when the animal or person is scared.

After that, in rats during sleep at some point, when they mentally ran through frightening them by day the place was activated and the amygdala. “The study is important because our memories is not just a set of information. We remember all the emotional context, so people who experienced fear by day, nightmares by night”, concluded Girardeau.