Monday, January 28, 2013

Fiber-optic implants stop seizures

Neuroscientists have developed a way to stop epileptic seizures in mice with fiber-optic light signals.

The new approach could potentially lead to better epilepsy treatment options, particularly for people who have the most severe symptoms.
Using a mouse model of temporal lobe epilepsy, Ivan Soltesz, professor and chair of anatomy and neurobiology at the University of California, Irvine, and colleagues created an EEG-based computer system that activates hair-thin optical strands implanted in the brain when it detects a real-time seizure.

These fibers subsequently “turn on” specially expressed, light-sensitive proteins called opsins, which can either stimulate or inhibit specific neurons in select brain regions during seizures, depending on the type of opsin.

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