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Latest Optogenetics Stories

Brain's Motor Areas Can Directly Turn Down Hearing
2014-09-02 03:06:42

Duke University When we want to listen carefully to someone, the first thing we do is stop talking. The second thing we do is stop moving altogether. This strategy helps us hear better by preventing unwanted sounds generated by our own movements. This interplay between movement and hearing also has a counterpart deep in the brain. Indeed, indirect evidence has long suggested that the brain's motor cortex, which controls movement, somehow influences the auditory cortex, which gives rise...

Scientists Find That Targeted Brain Stimulation Aids Stroke Recovery In Mice
2014-08-21 03:19:57

By Bruce Goldman, Stanford University Medical Center When investigators at the Stanford University School of Medicine applied light-driven stimulation to nerve cells in the brains of mice that had suffered strokes several days earlier, the mice showed significantly greater recovery in motor ability than mice that had experienced strokes but whose brains weren't stimulated. These findings, which will be published online Aug. 18 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could...

beating heart of a zebrafish embryo
2014-07-25 02:45:59

Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, München Researchers of the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden report how they managed to capture detailed three-dimensional images of cardiac dynamics in zebrafish. The novel approach: They combine high-speed Selective Plane Illumination Microscopy (SPIM) and clever image processing to reconstruct multi-view movie stacks of the beating heart. Furthermore, they have developed a method of generating high-resolution static...

2014-07-07 10:16:35

Institute for Basic Science Successfully inducing cell differentiation by light through the use of light-inducible receptor tyrosine kinases Institute for Basic Science (IBS), the main organization of the International Science and Business Belt project in South Korea, has announced that a group of researchers, led by professor Won Do Heo, have developed a new technology in the field of optogenetics that can remotely control specific receptors by light. They have named this new...

Turning Memory Off And On In Rats To Aid Alzheimer's Research
2014-06-02 14:18:58

Alan McStravick for redorbit.com - Your Universe online Memory is, it could be said, one of the most important keys in the propagation of a species. Without memory, one would be unable to recall fear of a predator or recognize a situation that promises a reward, such as food or an optimal mating situation. There is a flip-side to the coin of memory, too, however. A particularly traumatic experience can too easily be remembered given an environmental catalyst. Losing memory, as is the case...

Controlling Fruit Fly Movements With A Mind-Altering Device
2014-05-26 11:15:03

Alan McStravick for redorbit.com - Your Universe Online A joint collaboration between the Vienna University of Technology and US researchers, has resulted in the development of a unique and novel technique to control Drosophila melangogaster, perhaps better known as the fruit fly, via thermogenetic means. The control the researchers exert is ultimately able to be analyzed at the neural level within the brains of the insects. Much of the work was conducted at the Information Management...

2014-04-25 10:11:04

Leaps orders of magnitude beyond existing tools -- NIH study Scientists have bioengineered, in neurons cultured from rats, an enhancement to a cutting edge technology that provides instant control over brain circuit activity with a flash of light. The research funded by the National Institutes of Health adds the same level of control over turning neurons off that, until now, had been limited to turning them on. "What had been working through a weak pump can now work through a highly...

2014-04-25 10:04:46

Much-needed tool for neuroscience emerges after years of work Nearly a decade ago, the era of optogenetics was ushered in with the development of channelrhodopsins, light-activated ion channels that can, with the flick of a switch, instantaneously turn on neurons in which they are genetically expressed. What has lagged behind, however, is the ability to use light to inactivate neurons with an equal level of reliability and efficiency. Now, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) scientists...

2014-04-07 16:23:02

Skin cells use new molecule to send touch information to the brain In a study published in the April 6 online edition of the journal Nature, a team of Columbia University Medical Center researchers led by Ellen Lumpkin, PhD, associate professor of somatosensory biology, solve an age-old mystery of touch: how cells just beneath the skin surface enable us to feel fine details and textures. Touch is the last frontier of sensory neuroscience. The cells and molecules that initiate...

2014-02-10 11:15:53

Optogenetics is a technique that allows scientists to control neurons' electrical activity with light by engineering them to express light-sensitive proteins. Within the past decade, it has become a very powerful tool for discovering the functions of different types of cells in the brain. Most of these light-sensitive proteins, known as opsins, respond to light in the blue-green range. Now, a team led by MIT has discovered an opsin that is sensitive to red light, which allows researchers...


Word of the Day
out-herod
  • In the phrase to out-herod Herod, to be more violent than Herod (as represented in the old mystery plays); hence, to exceed in any excess of evil.
Herod refers to 'Herod the Great,' a Roman client king and 'a madman who murdered his own family and a great many rabbis.' According to the OED, the term is 'chiefly with allusion to Shakespeare's use' in Hamlet.
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