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University of Otago study reveals links between bee brains and human brains

A University of Otago study has revealed links between bee brains and human brains.

Paul Szyszka catches honey bees from the roof of the zoology department. Source: Supplied

The research could eventually be used to help treat human brains according to Paul Szyszka, a Lecturer in the University of Otago’s Department of Zoology

“Experiments on humans are expensive, logistically difficult, and time consuming. Moreover, recordings from individual identified neurons are not possible in human brains.

"By studying the brains of bees we can overcome these limitations and apply that knowledge to research, and eventually perhaps even to treatment, of human brains,” Mr Szyszka says in a release from the university.

According to the release, the research revealed that alpha oscillations in bees (the wave-like electrical activity brains generate) have similar properties as in our human brains.

“It is fascinating to see how bees can learn to associate odours with food in a similar way to humans. What we want to do now is examine how these alpha oscillations change in different situations.

"As a neuroethologist, I’m interested in how bees’ alpha oscillations change during natural behaviours, for example when a bee forages or sleeps,” Mr Szyszka says.

The research has been published today in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.