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In August 2006, researchers announced the creation of a microscopic device that can make an electrical connection to an individual neuron, an invention that might one day lead to synthetic substitutes for damaged nerve cells. discovermagazine.com... Charles Lieber, a chemist at Harvard University, and his colleagues devised a tool that can record, stimulate, and modulate signals at multiple points on a neuron, from individual dendrites to axons, essentially duplicating the way the brain cells communicate. The device is so small - just 20 nanometers across - that 50 can fit on a neuron. While other researchers have made electrical connections to the nervous system s of animals and humans, until now no one has been able to forge a link at the level of individual axons or dendrites (axon and dentrites - en.wikipedia.org... - - en.wikipedia.org...) . "These devices can be used not only to record signals but to apply voltages back to the nerve cell," Lieber says. "We could stimulate a neuron to fire and control the rate of propogation of the electrical implulse." The invention has PROFOUND implications for research and treatment. Using multiple inputs, it could soon be possible to decipher how neurons pass signals back and forth and how learning, memory, and other processes occur. Implanted in the brain, Liebers electrodes might one day serve as prostheses to help damaged nerves regain their function! "The goal," he says, "is the betterment of the brain condition."
Originally posted by OnionCloud
Either way, it's bound to fuel some sci-fi books out there, and perhaps some of those books will fuel future scientists in to making more discoveries.