A number of studies in recent years have revealed the amazing ability of the human brain to compensate for damage down to its part. In the latest of these, it’s been found that loss of the amygdala doesn’t have to mean that new memories will be void of emotion. Instead, it appears, a region called the bed nuclei can step in to take its place. The bed nuclei are slower to process information than the amygdala, and in normal circumstances are inhibited by the amygdala. The study looked specifically at fear conditioning, for which the amygdala has been considered crucial.
The finding offers the hope that therapies to promote compensatory shifts in function might help those who have suffered damage to parts of their brain.
(2010). Compensation in the neural circuitry of fear conditioning awakens learning circuits in the bed nuclei of the stria terminalis.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 107(33), 14881 - 14886.