Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Parkinson's and Light

Did you know the Michael J. Fox Foundation is funding research about the effects of light on Parkinson’s disease? According to Kurzweil News, researchers at Lund University plan to use optogenetics to stimulate neurons to release more dopamine in an effort to combat Parkinson’s disease. Optogenetics reportedly permits researchers to control specific cells in the brain using light, leaving other cells unaffected. To do this, the relevant cells are equipped with genes that express a special light-sensitive protein. The protein switches on cells when they are illuminated with light from a thin optic fiber implanted in the brain. The study itself will be conducted on laboratory rats with symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Reportedly, the transplanted cells will be obtained from the skin of an adult human and then “reprogrammed” to function as nerve cells.

No comments: