Our daily routines can become so ingrained that we perform them automatically, such as taking the same route to work every day. Some behaviors, such as smoking or biting your fingernails, become so habitual that we can’t stop even if we want to.
Although breaking habits can be hard, MIT neuroscientists have now shown that they can prevent them from taking root in the first place, in rats learning to run a maze to earn a reward. The researchers first demonstrated that activity in two distinct brain regions is necessary in order for habits to crystallize. Then, they were able to block habits from forming by interfering with activity in one of the brain regions — the infralimbic (IL) cortex, which is located in the prefrontal cortex.
The MIT researchers, led by Institute Professor Ann Graybiel, used a technique called optogenetics to block activity in the IL cortex. This allowed them to control cells of the IL cortex using light. When the cells were turned off during every maze training run, the rats still learned to run the maze correctly, but when the reward was made to taste bad, they stopped, showing that a habit had not formed. If it had, they would keep going back by habit.
“It’s usually so difficult to break a habit,” Graybiel says. “It’s also difficult to have a habit not form when you get a reward for what you’re doing. But with this manipulation, it’s absolutely easy. You just turn the light on, and bingo.”
Graybiel, a member of MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research, is the senior author of a paper describing the findings in the June 27 issue of the journal Neuron. Kyle Smith, a former MIT postdoc who is now an assistant professor at Dartmouth College, is the paper’s lead author.
Previous studies of how habits are formed and controlled have implicated the IL cortex as well as the striatum, a part of the brain related to addiction and repetitive behavioral problems, as well as normal functions such as decision-making, planning and response to reward. It is believed that the motor patterns needed to execute a habitual behavior are stored in the striatum and its circuits.
Recent studies from Graybiel’s lab have shown that disrupting activity in the IL cortex can block the expression of habits that have already been learned and stored in the striatum. Last year, Smith and Graybiel found that the IL cortex appears to decide which of two previously learned habits will be expressed.
“We have evidence that these two areas are important for habits, but they’re not connected at all, and no one has much of an idea of what the cells are doing as a habit is formed, as the habit is lost, and as a new habit takes over,” Smith says.
To investigate that, Smith recorded activity in cells of the IL cortex as rats learned to run a maze. He found activity patterns very similar to those that appear in the striatum during habit formation. Several years ago, Graybiel found that a distinctive “task-bracketing” pattern develops when habits are formed.
This kind of pattern “chunks” habits into a large unit that the brain can simply turn on when the habitual behavior is triggered, without having to think about each individual action that goes into the habitual behavior.
The researchers found that this pattern took longer to appear in the IL cortex than in the striatum, and it was also less permanent. Unlike the pattern in the striatum, which remains stored even when a habit is broken, the IL cortex pattern appears and disappears as habits are formed and broken. This was the clue that the IL cortex, not the striatum, was tracking the development of the habit.
The researchers’ ability to optogenetically block the formation of new habits suggests that the IL cortex not only exerts real-time control over habits and compulsions, but is also needed for habits to form in the first place.
‘I Tested Positive To HIV After Gang Raped By 3 Men – Chef Ayomide
Nigerian chef, Ayomide Idowu, who is also a male rape survivor, has taken to his Instagram page to tell his story.
The openly gay young man recalled how he was allegedly gang raped by 3 hoodlums at the age of 19 because of his sexuality and how he eventually contracted HIV.
Ayomide revealed his life never remained the same as he was also arrested and victimized by the police.
In his words;
“I could remember last 5years ago
What I pass through from 3 hoodlums
I was thoroughly beaten and gang-raped
All because I’m Gay…they took advantage of me
I was 19years old boy then, I suffered humiliation
Arbitrary arrest from police,inhuman degrading treatment,I lost my precious Home at the age of 19years..no parents no family…it really hurts to be an orphan….after I lost my virginity from the raped….having unprotected sex from those hoodlums I WAS TESTED POSITIVE….being positive my mood changed…I started my medication and think less…I stay away from smoking and alcohol…I eat Good fruits and vegetables…thanks to God I’m a testifier now
I’m undetectable my CD4 850 viral load 10
It really worth testimony 🙏🤦im looking healthy and stunning…being HIV positive is not the end of life…it reveals the other side of you…my aims of sharing my life threatening story as an orphan,so that people can learn from this…. 5years living positively”
See his post below:
Actress Osas Ighodaro Celebrates Her 30th Birthday With Emotional Post
Nigerian actress, Osas Ighodaro penned an emotional note via Instagram as she clocked 30-years-old on Monday.
To mark her birthday, the single mother of one posted a monochrome photo of herself as she wished for people to continue praying for those who lost their lives during these turbulent period.
“Thank God for another year. Happy Birthday to me. If you know me, you know I absolutely love birthdays but this year it certainly hits different. I’m overwhelming grateful for life and thankful to God to be able to see another birthday bc unfortunately many haven’t and won’t have that opportunity.
I am hopeful for better days for myself, those that I love and hold dear and most certainly for my country Nigeria. I pray for unity, peace, harmony and togetherness. We all deserve it.
My birthday wish is to please continue to pray for those innocent lives lost. Please remain hopeful and focused because I truly believe better days are soon ahead by God’s grace.
Peace, Love and Blessings.”
See her post below:
Exotic Resorts May Be the Best Bet for a Holiday
An exotic vacation usually means exploring a distant foreign country, whilst resorts are places
to go for rest, sport, or which offers a particular speciality, with many resorts being part of a
popular tourist destination or on or near a beach. If you are planning a vacation to an exotic
resort it can be a once-in-a-lifetime vacation to a far-flung destination or a luxurious place to
stay closer to home where you can enjoy some pampering.
Why stay at an exotic resort
Exotic resorts often offer all-inclusive vacation deals, along with other options that leave you
to plan your stay more precisely to your own wishes. These resorts offer excellent customer
service, superb accommodation and facilities and are usually to be found in beautiful settings.
Here are some of the best resorts from around the world for you to consider:
Four Seasons Resort, Seychelles
This famous resort has made many feel they have entered Paradise. The gentle ocean breeze
floats up the granite hillside and into your tree-house villa tucked away from the other guests
staying at the resort. This is perfect for encouraging you to relax, either by your private pool
or in the clear blue waters of Petite Anse Bay. Perfect for a romantic stay, there is a Spa for
pampering and the chance for a sunset meal on a deserted beach.
Some enjoy simply sitting on their balcony, gazing at the ocean between reading their book,
sketching or checking out international bookmakers and betting sites for the chance of a
flutter. If you want another type of adrenaline kick, check out the resorts excellent kayaking
and snorkelling facilities, which are recommended by nearly all who try it.
Anantara Resort, Hua Hin, Thailand
The ultimate tropical getaway, the Anantara Resort is an award-winning site modelled on a
traditional Thai village and is just three hours drive south of Bangkok. The location is where
Thai royalty and aristocrats have been holidaying for almost one-hundred years. Today, you
can visit historical attractions alongside theme parks and shops as well as vineyards and golf
The resort is set among 14 acres of lush tropical grounds with lotus-filled lagoons and
meandering pathways through exotic foliage, with many rooms overlooking the shoreline.
Each day, chefs prepare freshly caught local seafood alongside Thai specialities. The resort
also has an award-winning spa located within a lagoon-inspired oasis offering you the perfect
opportunity to relax.
Kurumba is a well-established resort that opened almost 50 years ago and continues to offer
superb hospitality and contemporary facilities. There are seven speciality restaurants offering
cuisine from Italy to the Middle East as well as Thila, a restaurant which extends out over the
water which offers gourmet breakfasts and seafood dinners.
You can go snorkelling over the nearby reef full of colourful marine life or sign up to a dive
package as part of your stay, or just enjoy a private pool when staying at one of the spacious
villages. There are also deluxe beachfront bungalows offering direct beach access and views
of the crystal-clear waters.
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