Silencing brain cells with certain lights could help in the battle against Parkinson's disease, according to a brand new report from one of the leading scientific universities in the US.
Neuroscientists with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a powerful set of tools to shut down brain activity using different colours of light, targeting specific neurons and potentially bringing about new treatments for abnormal brain activity associated with the likes of epilepsy and Parkinson's disease.
The tools silence abnormal brain activity as opposed to stimulating it, with these "super silencers" exerting control over the timing of when overactive neural circuits are shut down.
Ed Boyden, the senior author of the study at MIT, said: "Silencing different sets of neurons with different colours of light allows us to understand how they work together to implement brain functions. Using these new tools, we can look at two neural pathways and study how they compute together."
MIT is situated just outside of Boston in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and is widely regarded as the premier scientific institution in the US.
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