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Pea-sized region of the brain linked to pessimism

A tiny part of the brain could play a part in a pessimistic outlook and teach people to expect the worst, scientists believe.

A tiny part of the brain known as the habenula could make people pessimistic.
A tiny part of the brain known as the habenula could make people pessimistic. Credit: PA

The habenula, an evolutionarily ancient part of the brain half the size of a pea, plays an important role in learning from bad experiences research from University College London's Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience has found.

In some people, they think an over-active habenula may be linked to depression, pessimism and a negative outlook.

Lead researcher Dr Jonathan Roiser said: "The habenula tracks our experiences, responding more the worse something is expected to be."

He added: "In this study we showed that the habenula doesn't just express whether something leads to negative events or not; it signals quite how much bad outcomes are expected."

Dr Roiser said the findings, published in the latest edition of the journal Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences, may point the way towards new treatments.

Moeen Ali investigated for 'Free Palestine' wristbands

England batsman Moeen Ali is being investigated by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for wearing wristbands featuring the slogans "Free Palestine" and "Save Gaza" during the test match against India.

A close up view of wrist bands worn by England's Moeen Ali.
A close up view of wrist bands worn by England's Moeen Ali. Credit: PA

Moeen, who has raised funds for charities helping those affected by the three-week conflict with Israel, wore the bands during the second day of the third test.

But the off-spin bowler who plays county cricket for Warwickshire has the backing of the of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

A spokesman said: "As far as we are concerned, he has not committed any offence. It is now up to the ICC to decide whether he will face any action."

The ICC Code of Conduct states: "Players are not permitted to wear, display or otherwise convey messages through arm bands or any other items affixed to clothing or equipment unless approved in advance by the player or team official's Board."

Read: One Direction's Zayn Malik receives death threats after #FreePalestine tweet


Australian hockey player jokes about Harry 'proposal'


Harry proposed....and I said yes! Great to have the girls there for that special moment #royalfamily #Ido


Australian hockey player Rachael Lynch shared her excitement about meeting Prince Harry with her Twitter followers, joking that Harry had asked for her hand in marriage.

Team mate Anna Flanagan also tweeted a mass selfie with the 'Hockeyroos' and the Prince, who was in Glasgow with brother William and Kate.

Israeli army claims five soldiers killed in conflict today

The Israeli army said five of its soldiers have been killed in two separate incidents today, including four in a mortar strike.

The Israel Defence Forces' Twitter feed said:


Staff Sgt. Moshe Davino, 20, from Jerusalem, was killed today in combat in the southern Gaza Strip. May his memory be blessed.


In addition, four IDF soldiers were killed along the Gaza border today as a result of mortar fire. Their families have been notified.

There were also local reports of casualties after Palestinian fighters launched a cross-border raid but there was no immediate confirmation of this.

Read: Gaza hospital hit after ceasefire calls

Tory MP involved in domestic assault to stand down

A Conservative MP who accepted a police caution over a domestic assault has announced he is standing down at the general election.

David Ruffley will be standing down from Parliament in 2015.
David Ruffley will be standing down from Parliament in 2015. Credit: ITV News Anglia

David Ruffley said the "protracted media debate" about his private life would not serve the interests of his constituency party.

In a letter to Bury St Edmunds's Conservative Association, Mr Ruffley also said the incident had provoked an "unrelenting orchestrated intrusion into my private life".

Read: Tory MP apologises over assault of former partner


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