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The Hypothalamus
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A slideshow all about the hypothalamus, a vital part of the brain.

A slideshow all about the hypothalamus, a vital part of the brain.

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  • 1. The Hypothalamus
    • By Alexander Specking and Michael Sova
  • 2. What and where is it?
    • The small center of the brain also known as the pleasure and pain center.
    • This area manages your extreme feelings, such as rage, joy, aggression and compassion, and your behaviour concerning these emotions.
  • 3. Functions
    • It’s mainly responsible for controlling:
          • Metabolism
          • Homeostasis (constant internal environment)
          • Hunger
          • Thirst
          • Emotions
          • Body temperature regulation
          • Circadian rhythms
          • Sleep patterns & levels of consciousness, including fatigue
          • Blood Pressure
    • Also controls pituitary gland by secreting, producing and discharging, hormones. Because of this it has a great deal of control over many body functions.
  • 4. How does it carry out the functions?
    • Carrying out these functions involves coordinating the activity of the autonomic nervous system and the endocrine system, and ultimately influences several important behaviors.
  • 5. Exercising Study: Barreto (2010)
    • Study led by Brazilian researchers at the University of Campinas.
    • They exercised obese rodents and found that they demonstrated signals of restored satiety in hypothalamic neurons and less food intake.
    • “ In obese animals, exercise increased IL-6 and IL-10 protein levels in the hypothalamus, and these molecules were crucial for increasing the sensitivity of the most important hormones, insulin and leptin, which control appetite.”
    • Besides burning calories working out also restores sensitivity of neurons which are involved in the maintenance of satiety, feeling full. This sequentially plays a part in reducing food intake and as a result weight loss.
    • The way exercise affects ones control of their body weight has only now been understood.
  • 6. Depression Study (2008)
    • Chinese investigators from Hefei and Dutch researchers in Amsterdam.
    • Used donated postmortem human brain tissue.
    • Hypothalamus  of critical significance for development of symptoms of depression
    • Corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF) cells in PVN of human hypothalamus  central driving force of the stress response & hyperactive in depression.
    • Frozen hypothalami of 7 depressed patients and 7 controls obtained.
    • From 16 gene products that were studied, 5 were found to show significant changes.
    • The molecular changes found may not only explain hyperactivity of CRF cells but may also be potential targets for new therapeutic strategies.
  • 7. Fear Study: Swanson (2009)
    • Larry Swanson of University of Southern California studied brain activity of rats & mice exposed to rival rodents or cats defending their territory.
    • New perspective on what part of brain controls fear: hypothalamus, not amygdala.
    • Made lesions in hypothalamus resulted in mice that were not afraid of their predators anymore.
    • The study replicated findings for male rats that wandered into another male's territory.
    • Even when losing vs. other male, the intruders returned.
  • 8. Possible dysfunctions:
    • Some of the physical aspects and causes of Hypothalamic dysfunctions are:
      • Disordered sleep
      • Multiple hormonal dysfunctions
      • Immune dysfunction
      • Autonomic dysfunction
      • Altered body temperatures
      • Head trauma
      • Tumors
      • Malnutrition
      • Infection and swelling