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Latest Optogenetics Stories

2013-10-17 17:14:11

A new technique allows researchers to activate proteins in the brain by shining an LED light on them With the flick of a light switch, researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies can change the shape of a protein in the brain of a mouse, turning on the protein at the precise moment they want. This allows the scientists to observe the exact effect of the protein's activation. The new method, described in the October 16 issue of the journal Neuron, relies on specially engineered...

New Field Of Optogenetics Could Offer Solutions For Cardiac Arrhythmia
2013-09-19 14:05:49

National Science Foundation With a few flicks of a light switch--on-off-on-off--Stanford University's Oscar Abilez is one step closer to changing the lives of millions. Why? Because as a focused speck of light turns on and off in Abilez's lab, a cluster of heart cells begins to expand and contract. He demonstrates that he can control the rhythm of a heart using just light. Currently, 4 million Americans suffer from some degree of cardiac arrhythmia, wherein a person's heart beats too...

2013-08-07 10:27:53

"Pressing the button of the lift at your work place, or apartment building is an automatic action – a habit. You don't even really look at the different buttons; your hand is almost reaching out and pressing on its own. But what happens when you use the lift in a new place? In this case, your hand doesn't know the way, you have to locate the buttons, find the right one, and only then your hand can press a button. Here, pushing the button is a goal-directed action." It is...

2013-04-12 13:30:19

Using a miniature electronic device implanted in the brain, scientists have tapped into the internal reward system of mice, prodding neurons to release dopamine, a chemical associated with pleasure. The researchers, at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, developed tiny devices, containing light emitting diodes (LEDs) the size of individual neurons. The devices activate brain cells with light. The scientists report their...

LED Implants Light Up The Brain
2013-04-12 05:57:47

[ Watch the Video: Tiny Injectable LEDs Help Neuroscientists Study the Brain ] redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online Researchers have developed a new class of tiny, injectable devices that are helping neuroscientists unlock the mysteries of the human brain. The ultrathin, flexible optoelectronic devices, which include LEDs the size of individual neurons, are an exciting advancement in the field of optogenetics, a new area of neuroscience that uses light to...

3-D "Light Switch" To Better Understand How The Brain Works
2012-11-19 15:04:38

Optical Society of America New device for delivering light to individual neurons could one day help treat Parkinson's disease, epilepsy; aid understanding of consciousness, how memories form A new tool for neuroscientists delivers a thousand pinpricks of light to a chunk of gray matter smaller than a sugar cube. The new fiber-optic device, created by biologists and engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, is the first tool that can deliver precise...

Motivation Pathways In The Brain Can Fail And Cause Depression
2012-11-19 06:37:26

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online Researchers from Stanford University have isolated the neurons responsible for determining whether or not exerting effort in order to complete a task is worth the energy that said effort will require -- a discovery which could help medical professionals better deal with depression and other brain-related disorders. According to the university, many psychiatrists believe that a person's "will to act" originates from the prefrontal...

Monkey Brains And Mind Control
2012-07-29 06:45:39

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online Researchers have for the first time shown that they can control the behavior of monkeys by using pulses of blue light to very specific brain cells. This is an advance for optogenetics, a state-of-the-art method for making slight connectivity between brain activity and behavior. According to the researchers, similar light-based mind control could likely also be made to work in humans for therapeutic needs and care. "We are the...

Robot Reveals The Inner Workings Of Brain Cells
2012-05-07 06:50:13

New method offers automated way to record electrical activity inside neurons in the living brain Gaining access to the inner workings of a neuron in the living brain offers a wealth of useful information: its patterns of electrical activity, its shape, even a profile of which genes are turned on at a given moment. However, achieving this entry is such a painstaking task that it is considered an art form; it is so difficult to learn that only a small number of labs in the world practice...


Word of the Day
drawcansir
  • A blustering, bullying fellow; a pot-valiant braggart; a bully.
This word is named for Draw-Can-Sir, a character in George Villiers' 17th century play The Rehearsal.
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