Ultrasound can remotely stimulate brain circuitsOctober 30th, 2008 - 6:22 pm ICT by ANI
Washington, Oct 30 (ANI): Neuroscientists at Arizona State University have developed pulsed ultrasound techniques that can remotely stimulate brain circuit activity without the need of exogenous proteins or surgically implanted medical devices for the same.
The new study provides insights into how low-power ultrasound can be harnessed for the noninvasive neurostimulation of brain circuits and offers the potential for new treatments of brain disorders and diseases, like traumatic stress disorders, traumatic brain injury and even Alzheimer’’s disease.
“We were able to unravel how ultrasound can stimulate the electrical activity of neurons by optically monitoring the activity of neuronal circuits, while we simultaneously propagated low-intensity, low-frequency ultrasound through brain tissues,” said lead investigator William “Jamie” Tyler.
The researchers discovered that remotely delivered low intensity, low frequency ultrasound (LILFU) increased the activity of voltage-gated sodium and calcium channels in a way sufficient to trigger action potentials and the release of neurotransmitter from synapses.
As the processes are important for transferring information among neurons, the researchers suggested that this type of ultrasound provides a powerful new tool for modulating the activity of neural circuits.
“Many of the stimulation methods used by neuroscientists require the use and implantation of stimulating electrodes, requiring direct contact with nervous tissue or the introduction of exogenous proteins, such as those used for the light-activation of neurons,” explained Tyler.
In their search for new types of noninvasive neurostimulation methods, the scientists revisited ultrasound.
“We were quite surprised to find that ultrasound at power levels lower than those typically used in routine diagnostic medical imaging procedures could produce an increase in the activity of neurons while higher power levels produced very little effect on their activity,” said Tyler.
The skull has been a stumbling block to using ultrasound noninvasively in the brain. However, they found that low-frequency ultrasound could be focused through human skulls.
Talking about the potential of using his groups” methods to remotely control brain activity, Tyler said: “One might be able to envision potential applications ranging from medical interventions to use in video gaming or the creation of artificial memories along the lines of Arnold Schwarzenegger’’s character in ”Total Recall.” Imagine taking a vacation without actually going anywhere?
“Obviously, we need to conduct further research and development, but one of the most exhilarating prospects is that low intensity, low frequency ultrasound permit deep-brain stimulation procedures without requiring exogenous proteins or surgically implanted medical devices.
The study is published in the latest issue of the journal Public Library of Science (PLoS) One. (ANI)
- DARPA eyes mind-controlling helmets for soldiers - Sep 11, 2010
- How LCD projectors 'switch neurons on-off like light bulbs' in worms - Jan 17, 2011
- Shockwaves can heal broken bones - Jun 26, 2011
- Scientists discover way to reduce traumatic memories - Apr 28, 2011
- Can traumatic memories be erased? - Apr 28, 2011
- Yellow and blue lights may harbour chronic brain disorder cure - Jan 07, 2010
- Electrical brain stimulation may boost math skills - Nov 05, 2010
- Ultrasound helps drugs get under your skin - Sep 17, 2012
- New Therapy can ease irritable bowels - Jul 19, 2011
- Stem cell implants can heal traumatic brain injury - Jan 16, 2012
- Nerve cell memory holds key erasing pain - Feb 14, 2012
- Protein key to storing long-term memories - Jan 29, 2012
- Electronic circuits to 'rewire brain connectivity post trauma' - Sep 28, 2010
- Scientists zap unruly brain cells with yellow, blue light - Jan 07, 2010
- Scientists get closer to understanding how brain's 'hearing center' works - Oct 19, 2010
Tags: action potentials, arizona state university, brain circuit, brain circuits, brain disorders, brain tissues, calcium channels, diagnostic medical imaging, frequency ultrasound, jamie tyler, nervous tissue, neural circuits, neuronal circuits, neuroscientists, neurostimulation, power ultrasound, stimulation methods, stress disorders, traumatic brain injury, ultrasound techniques