New Technologies Expand Possibilities for Studying and Treating the Brain
SAN DIEGO — Advances in technology and increased understanding of the properties of neurons are paving the way for future neuroscience breakthroughs. Researchers are both improving common techniques in efforts to make treatments safer and refine animal models, as well as creating novel ways to stimulate and map the brain. These projects were presented today at Neuroscience 2016, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience and the world’s largest source of emerging news about brain science and health.
Today’s new findings highlight:
- A nonsurgical way to stimulate structures deep within the brain, a less risky alternative to current treatments for Parkinson’s disease (Nir Grossman, abstract 116.06, see attached summary).
- A technique to map the cortical projections of single neurons in an entire mouse brain (Longwen Huang, abstract 367.11, see attached summary).
- A potentially safer method for editing cells’ genomes, moving science one step closer to curing some forms of genetic diseases (Brett Staahl, abstract 317.09, see attached summary).
- An approach to create genetic animal models with more precision and specificity (Stefan Blankvoort, abstract 183.02, see attached summary).
Other recent findings discussed illustrate:
- A way to control specific brain regions with magnetic fields, a breakthrough that could replace electronic-based stimulation treatments (Galit Pelled, presentation 95.01, see attached speaker summary).
“The innovations described today make studying the brain easier, safer, and more comprehensive,” said press conference moderator Minmin Luo, PhD, of the National Institute of Biological Sciences, China, and an expert in electrophysiology and optogenetics. “These exciting advances bring us closer to a better understanding of the brain and better ways to treat diseases.”
The research was supported by national funding agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, as well as other public, private, and philanthropic organizations worldwide. Find out more about the brain and new technologies for exploring its mysteries at BrainFacts.org.