Anatomie strachu

Jak mozek zaznamenává své nejvýraznější vzpomínky? Studium strachu u krys nám v tomto směru pomáhá mnohé odkrýt. Lidé a krysy se sice bojí zcela odlišných věcí a situací, ale způsob, jímž mozek člověka i krysy reaguje na nebezpečí, je velmi podobný. Vzhledem k tomu, že strach je u lidí prapříčinou mnoha patologických stavů – od projevů panické úzkosti až k posttraumatickým stresům – může průlom v chápání mozkového systému strachu vést k novým způsobům léčby těchto poruch.

Střed mozkového systému strachu se nachází v oblasti zvané amygdala. Tato oblast přijímá informace od všech smyslů a na jejich základě pak ovládá různé obvody v našem těle, díky nimž se nám rozbuší srdce, zpotí dlaně, sevře žaludek, ztuhnou svaly či vyplaví hormony, což jsou všechno známky toho, že máme strach.

Amygdala krysy reaguje na přirozená nebezpečí (krysa má strach z kočky, aniž se to musí učit) a učí se o nebezpečích nových (zvukových, zrakových a čichových vjemech, které se pravidelně vyskytují v předtuše setkání s kočkou nebo jiným nebezpečím). Právě studiem toho, jak se mozek krysy učí novým stimulům – například zvukům, jež předcházejí nebezpečí – bylo objasněno, jak funguje náš lidský systém učení se strachu a systém paměti vůbec.

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