Can A Fruit Fly Teach Us Anything About Our Emotional States? by Anne Kreamer

Well, yes.  It turns out that the mind of a fly can reveal a lot about the underlying mechanisms of ADHD and hyperactivity.  In a TEDxCalTech talk, neurobiologist David Anderson describes how modern psychiatric drugs treat the chemistry of the whole brain, but that his research into the emotional states of fruit flies could yield more precisely targeted psychiatric medications that are more effective with fewer side effects.  His work  is dedicated to deciphering the neural circuits that underlie fear, anxiety, pain, and other instinctive behaviors and is revealing that disruptions in those neural circuits can underlie psychiatric disorders like anxiety and depression. The Howard Hughes Medical Institute reports, "Elucidating these neural circuits is an important first step to understanding how genes, drugs, and experience act on and modify these circuits, in both normal behavior and in disorders such as anxiety and depression. Our hope is that this work will eventually improve the diagnosis of these conditions and lead to new, improved treatments," Anderson said.