Less invasive neuron-activating device shines light through the skull

Discussion in 'Industry News' started by Calliers, Jul 30, 2021.

  1. Calliers

    Calliers Administrator/Editor Staff Member

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    Optogenetics is a very promising technique – among other things, it may one day be used to reduce anxiety, treat addiction, and even reverse blindness. A newly developed device could soon also make it considerably less invasive, and thus more doable.

    In a nutshell, optogenetics involves first adding light-sensitive proteins to specific neurons in the brain, then using tiny implanted LEDs to illuminate those neurons, thus activating them on demand. Needless to say, through, introducing the proteins and the implants does involve surgically penetrating the brain.

    Scientists at the University of Arizona may now have solved at least half of the problem, with a light-delivery device that sits outside the skull. Described as being "as thin as a sheet of paper and about half the diameter of a dime," it's implanted beneath the scalp skin, above the neurons in question.

    When wirelessly activated, it then shines its light through the bone and into the brain, stimulating those neurons. It's also wirelessly powered via an externally generated electromagnetic field, so it doesn't require a bulky battery of its own that needs to be recharged or replaced.

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    Source: newatlas
     

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