Thursday, March 29, 2007

Pulsing light silences overactive neurons

This article sent to me in the comments (thx matt) is pretty interesting. MIT engineers have figured out ways to control neurons using light and modified genes. It looks like it has a long way to go before it can help with epilepsy, but I am hopeful! Check it out:

Scientists at the MIT Media Lab have invented a way to reversibly silence brain cells using pulses of yellow light, offering the prospect of controlling the haywire neuron activity that occurs in diseases such as epilepsy and Parkinson's disease.

Conversly, it reminds me of the novel, Snow Crash, by Neil Stephenson. A computer program flashes a pattern of lights into a programer's eyes which causes them to die. Great book - great author - always about 20 years ahead of his time.

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