Researching the brain reactions of fruit flies to further understand psychiatric disorders

David Anderson is a neurobiologist at the California Institute of Technology. In the TED Talk below, titled, “Your brain is more than a bag of chemicals,” he explains how he is employing basic research on fruit flies to understand mental illness in humans. Anderson explains this concept exponentially better than I ever could, so I will leave the specifics to him. In layman’s terms, however, Anderson contrasts the traditional view of psychiatric disorders – as being caused by chemical imbalances in the brain – and the treatment methods based on this view, with the newly emerging view of psychiatric disorders as being instead disturbances of emotion circuit functions. He states that traditional medications are not very helpful because individuals are often discouraged by negative side effects. Anderson believes that further research could serve as a catalyst for increased understanding of the causes within the brain of such disorders, and possibly result in an alternative form of treatment.

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Emily Pate is a third-year student at Seattle University interested in Strategic Communications, learning Spanish, and working with non-profits. Her work for Rooted In Rights is focused on discussing current events in the community of people with disabilities. Her experience previous to Rooted In Rights includes writing broadcasts for KBOO radio in Portland, OR, and managing a neighborhood blog in the Seattle community. In addition to work, Emily enjoys drawing, spending time with her friends and family, and backpacking.