Researchers alter behavior in monkey using optogenetics
A study published in Current Biology on controlling the behavior of monkeys with light activating specific brain cells led researchers to believe that a similar process could be used therapeutically in humans.
A study published in Current Biology on controlling the behavior of monkeys with light activating specific brain cells led researchers to believe that a similar process could be used therapeutically in humans. Clinical applications may include treatment of addiction and depression, which may reduce the need to buy Paxil for some.
Wim Vanduffel and his research team from Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology used the process called optogenetics, which is inserting a light activated protein from algae into specific cells. They inserted the protein into the cells associated with eye movement in the brain and then tested the speed of eye movements, a test known as saccades, and found that it increased significantly when the light was on.
"We are the first to show that optogenetics can alter the behavior of monkeys. This opens the door to use of optogenetics at a large scale in primate research and to start developing optogenetic-based therapies for humans," said Wim Vanduffel of Massachusetts General Hospital and KU Leuven Medical School.
This study may lead to therapies for Parkinson's and other neurological diseases. According to the Parkinson's Disease Foundation, an estimated 10 million people have this neurodegenerative condition.
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