An area of brain that is specialized for detecting fast moving objects in peripheral vision has been identified. This discovery could lead to newer treatments for phobias and Alzheimer's disease.

Researchers say that this part of brain called prostriata has a direct link to other areas of brain that are used for decision making and emotions.

“The brain is the most complex organ in the human body and perhaps the most remarkable. These findings change how we think of the brain in terms of how visual information is processed,” said Dr. Hsin-Hao Yu from Monash University’s Department of Physiology and lead author of study.

Researchers say that the study can help in finding a treatment for hyperactivity disorders.

“This area is likely to be hyperactive in panic disorder, with agoraphobia. This knowledge could lead to treatment options for the hyperactivity, and therefore sensitivity to such disorders, particularly the fear of open spaces," said Dr. Yu.

Researchers say that this study can explain some of the symptoms associated with Alzheimer's disease in which people (usually senior citizens) start to lose memory and thinking skills and are unable to perform daily activities.

“Correlation with previous studies also shows that prostriata is one of the first areas affected in Alzheimer’s disease. This knowledge helps to explain spatial disorientation and the tendency to fall, which are among the earliest signs of a problem associated with Alzheimer’s," said Dr. Yu.

This area of the brain sends visual information to brain areas that control movement, emotion and attention, researchers said.

“This suggests a specialised brain circuit through which stimuli in peripheral vision can be fast-tracked to command quickly coordinated physical and emotional responses,” said Professor Marcello Rosa from Monash University’s Department of Physiology, one of the study authors.

The study was published in the journal Current Biology.