Sunday, June 13, 2010

Pulsed Ultrasound and the Brain

William “Jamie” Tyler, a neuroscientist at Arizona State University, and his colleagues have announced the results of a study that used pulsed ultrasound to impact the brain (without surgery or other invasive procedures). For example, pulsed ultrasound:

1. Activated brain waves in the hippocampus known as sharp-wave ripples
2. Stimulated the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)
in the hippocampus

According to Tyler, the fact that ultrasound can be used to stimulate action potentials, meaningful brain wave activity patterns, and BDNF leads him to believe that, in the future, ultrasound will be useful for enhancing cognitive performance; perhaps even in the treatment of cognitive disabilities such as mental retardation or Alzheimer's disease.

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