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Colored light might silence harmful brain activity


Colored LightFrom HealthDay News: New tools that use different colors of light to silence brain activity could lead to new treatments for disorders such as epilepsy, chronic pain, Parkinson’s disease and brain injury, neuroscientists say.

These so-called “super-silencers” provide precise control over the timing of the shutdown of overactive brain circuits, something that’s impossible with existing drugs or other conventional treatments, according to the research team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The research is published in the Jan. 7 issue of the journal Nature.

“Silencing different sets of neurons with different colors of light allows us to understand how they work together to implement brain functions,” study senior author Ed Boyden, a professor in the MIT Media Lab and an associate member of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, said in a news release.

“Using these new tools, we can look at two neural pathways and study how they compute together. These tools will help us understand how to control neural circuits, leading to new understandings and treatments for brain disorders — some of the biggest unmet medical needs in the world,” Boyden added. read the full fascinating story

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