It seems that future investigations of human brains will be conducted on honeybees’ brains. Queensland Brain Institute researchers presume that scrutinizing the brains of bees can help unravel the mysteries of disorders such as schizophrenia and autism. Well, this appears true precisely because the underlying processes in insects and humans are almost the same.
In this research, experts closely observed the way bees process scents and learn to associate particular odors with sugar rewards. Then several molecular techniques were utilized for exploring the alterations that probably occurred in the bees’ brains after odor memories are formed. Olfactory memories supposedly are extremely salient and can suddenly trigger recall of a long-forgotten event or person.
“When sensory information is processed, particular changes occur in the expression of the molecules that facilitate communication between neurons. We’re now interested in what happens when this molecular communication goes awry, as we suspect is the case with mental disorders such as schizophrenia and autism. If we can understand how molecular mis-communication in neurons is linked to mental disorder, it may help us find cures for these conditions,” QBI’s Dr Judith Reinhard said.
Odors are also believed to have a significant impact on decision-making. Apart from serving as a model for human brain function, insects also seem to be helpful in olfactory research for many other reasons. The experimental design appears simpler and produces quick results without undergoing any mood swings and changes of mind like human subjects.
The research may have great importance in the world of health and medicine.