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Stanford Team, Including Siebel Scholar Murtaza Mogri, Has Identified the Neurons Responsible for Risky Behavior

ARTICLE BY: Pam Belluck

The New York Times

March 23rd 2016

Risky Rats Give Clues on Brain Circuitry Behind Taking a Chance

Scientists have long tried to understand what makes some people risk-averse and others risk-taking. Answers could have implications for how to treat, curb or prevent destructively risky behavior, like pathological gambling or drug addiction.

Now, a study by Stanford neuroscientist Dr. Karl Deisseroth, and his colleagues, including Siebel Scholar Murtaza Mogri (Stanford Bioengineering ’11), gives some clues. The study, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, reports that a specific type of neuron or nerve cell, in a certain brain region helps galvanize whether or not a risky choice is made.

The scientists used a technique Dr. Deisseroth helped invent fiber photometry, which uses light particles to track activity of neurons tagged with certain proteins.

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