[ExI] Scientists Found a New Way to Control the Brain With Light—No Surgery Required

John Grigg possiblepaths2050 at gmail.com
Sat Oct 17 09:39:21 UTC 2020

"If I had to place money on a neurotech that will win the Nobel Prize, it’s

The technology uses light of different frequencies to control the brain.
It’s a brilliant mind-meld of basic neurobiology and engineering that
hijacks the mechanism behind how neurons naturally activate—or are
silenced—in the brain.

Thanks to optogenetics, in just ten years we’ve been able to
artificially incept
in mice, decipher brain signals that lead to pain, untangle the neural code
for addiction, reverse depression, restore rudimentary sight in blinded
mice, and overwrite terrible memories
with happy ones. Optogenetics is akin to a universal programming language
for the brain.

But it’s got two serious downfalls: it requires gene therapy, and it needs
brain surgery to implant optical fibers into the brain.

This week, the original mind behind optogenetics is back with an update
that cuts the cord. Dr. Karl Deisseroth’s team at Stanford University, in
collaboration with the University of Minnesota, unveiled an upgraded
version of optogenetics
<http://web.stanford.edu/group/dlab/media/papers/chenNBT2020.pdf> that
controls behavior without the need for surgery. Rather, the system shines
light through the skulls of mice, and it penetrates deep into the brain.
With light pulses, the team was able to change how likely a mouse was to
have seizures, or reprogram its brain so it preferred social company."

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