Viewing dead relatives reduces the lifespan of flies


Researchers have discovered that drosophila flies live shorter lives after seeing the corpses of their kin. This is due to the activity of certain neurons, though the exact way it influences premature death isn't yet clear. However, it's related to impaired insulin function, according to EurekAlert.

When drosophila flies look at dead relatives, two groups of cells activating the ellipsoid body of the central nervous system, R2 and R4, turn on. These neurons express the serotonin receptor or "happiness hormone."

Scientists artificially activated R2 and R4, with the effect on fly lifespan being the same as when they viewed insect corpses. Drosophila's nervous system is relatively primitive, but further research could uncover similar mechanisms in other animals.

This may lead to the development of drugs that slow down the aging process in humans. It could also help us understand how the perception of death affects health.