27 Aug '14, 5pm

Lasers Switch Bad Memories to Good in Mice

Researchers have discovered a way to use a laser to manipulate memories in mice. In experiments reported today in Nature , scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that they could change the emotions associated with a memory from negative to positive and vice versa. The researchers relied on optogenetics, a sophisticated genetic tool that uses a laser to control neurons that have been sensitized to light. Optogenetic techniques have been used experimentally for more than a decade to control animal behavior and map neuronal networks, and have the potential to offer insight into maladies such as Parkinson's disease, addiction, depression, and spinal cord injuries. The technique involves injecting into the brain a virus that contains genetic constructs that sensitize neurons to light, and then manipulating the neurons using a laser that delivers light via...

Full article: http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/biomedical/devices/las...

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