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Novel Method Activates Neurons in Mammalian Brain without Any External Surgical Device

Jun, 2021 - By WMR

Novel Method Activates Neurons in Mammalian Brain without Any External Surgical Device

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis reported novel approach for the treatment of certain neurological disorders.

Neuron activation or deep brain stimulation is a method used to treat certain neurological disorders by implanting a surgical device. Recently, a multidisciplinary team at Washington University in St. Louis found a technique to activate the neuron in the mammalian brain with the application of ultrasound, which could control the neuron activation in the brain without implanting any surgical device.

A team headed by Hong Chen, assistant professor of biomedical engineering and of radiation oncology, is the first one to provide straight evidences of deep brain stimulation without any external surgical device implantation. Chen claimed that the neurons in the brain of mammals could be specifically activated by combining the ultrasound-induced heating effects and genetics, which they defined as ‘Sonothermogenetics’. Chen said, “Sonothermogenetics has the capability to shift our approaches to neuroscience research and have exposure to new techniques to perceive and examine the human brain disorders.”

It was observed that the ultrasound alone could modify ion channels activity and could lead to new non-invasive method to influence and control the specific-cell actions. It was also found that depending on stimulus intensity and channel flow, the engrossed ultrasounds moderated the currents flowing by way of the ion channels up to 23% on an average.  The research also raises the fusion of light-sensitive ion channels and accurate light delivery for deep neuron stimulation in the brain, which is defined as ‘Optogenetics’. Though optogenetics is a new technique of neuron activation, but it has certain limitations of light scattering and requires surgical device implantation. However, sonothermogenetics come up with optimizing real-time application to treat neurological disorders.

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