Controlling Brain with Light

The brain is a complex organ that still undiscovered by scientists. How does the organ works? This question has been raised but till now only a few answers were given. It is very interesting to understand how the brain works.

Several years of study also couldn’t completely explain the complex matters of the organ. In 2005, a new study came under view, called optogenetics.

The technique uses a mixture of light and genetic engineering for controlling the cells in the brain. This technique has become very popular and moreover, it is being used in brain research laboratories around the world. It is helping us to discover many new things about the organ.

What is Optogenetics?

Optogenetics is a method that uses light to control the behavior of cells by genetic engineering. Genetic engineering is a field of study where scientists can change the information in the genetic levels of organisms. This method is one of the most rapidly evolving fields of applied research.

The Optogenetic techniques enable the control of electrically sensitive cells such as muscle or nerve cells. In the study of optogenetics, experts collect the genetic code of the neurons. Further, they analyze the neuron code and add a new piece of code to it.

Despite the amount of research contributed towards mammalian brains, scientists couldn’t unravel the mystery of the brain. But with the new technique of optogenetics, scientists are stepping forward towards it. It includes advanced technology for delivering light deep into organisms.

The method targets light-sensitive cells for assessing specific optical control. In optogenetics, the results are precise and very accurate. These results furthermore, excites the scientist.

This further helps us to understand the brain more wisely and deal with psychiatric patients. We can control and observe every moment in our brains. For example, we can observe events like the movements of neurons of a few milliseconds.

controlling brain

How Optogenetics helps in Controlling Brain?

Optogenetics uses mapping for understanding a mammal’s brain. This creates techniques to understand how the organ works. As optogenetic techniques improve, there are possibilities of even more control in brain stimulation studies.

Further, different lights can be used for controlling different types of neurons. Optogenetic methods study the cerebellum from various points of view. It can be from the communication of a group of particular neurons to the interactions between deep brain regions.

Several other studies use optogenetic methods for investigating different topics and questions. The questions are generally about: where are emotions in the brain? How do reflexes work from our brains? Where and how memories stored? 

controlling brain of mice

Optogenetics was also used in mice to examine how the brain changes after a stroke. A stroke is a medical condition where the blood supply to a specific part of the brain disrupts or reduces.

Such conditions are dangerous because the blood supply carries oxygen and other important nutrients on which the brain eventually survives. If a section of the brain runs too long without any oxygen supply, the neurons of that section eventually die. Further, this creates trouble for the entire brain and the other areas of the body that functions under the guidance of that area.

The study conducted was to understand and learn how strokes affect the mammal’s brain and how optogenetics can help us. The experiment included Channelrhodopsins, light-gated ion channels for studying the stroke.

Future aspects of Controlling Brain

Optogenetic technology applied to a wide range of questions in behavior and physiology. It provides insights into movement, navigation, learning, memory, and metabolism processing.

Clinically researches conducted can help to shed knowledge on cellular activities associated with conditions such as epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, chronic pain, and psychiatric issues like anxiety. Thus, the study of optogenetic has many potentials that can cure, understand, and controlling brain functions. 

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