New wireless device can turn neurons on or off using lights on the brain

The optogenetics is in charge of using light to control genetically modified cells, something used, among other things, to excite some parts of the brain of animals remotely and thus be able to discover more things about the operation of this organ.

The problem with this technique is obvious: this light must be delivered to the brain cells using optical fibers, which implies heavy equipment on the animal's head (usually mice) that affects its behavior and generates interference in the results. .

Now, from the Stanford lab, comes a new device – just 20-50 milligrams – that can be remotely activated, wirelessly, a wireless LED that implants under the skin of a mouse. In this way, light-sensitive neurons can be stimulated and how this action affects the normal behavior of the rodent.

The neurons that must be reached are genetically altered to respond to light, generally with green algae genes, and until now it is being useful to better understand the function of each part of the brain, which can help a lot to understand certain diseases of the being human.

Thanks to its small size, the device can also be installed in the spine and extremities, thus also helping to develop other areas of medicine.

In IEEE you can read some of the experiments already carried out, and in Nature the original article, published two days ago on its website.

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