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A Light Switch for Neurons? WOW

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posted on May, 16 2011 @ 10:19 AM
Ed Boyden shows how, by inserting a light-sensitive algae gene into brain cells, he can selectively activate or de-activate specific neurons with fiber-optic implants. With this unprecedented level of control, he's managed to cure mice of analogs of PTSD and certain forms of blindness. On the horizon: neural prosthetics. Watch this.

Video Lecture on TED

Watch the end of the lecture for more surprises and possibilities. I Hope this knowledge always stay in the hands of healers.

posted on May, 16 2011 @ 10:26 AM
Wow thats fantastic! TED is an awe inspiring website, so many mind blowing talks there!

Would be nice if I could finally get rid of my PTSD and anxiety issues! Seems like a pretty invasive procedure though?

posted on May, 16 2011 @ 10:40 AM
It does seem that way for now, but everything starts out a little rough before refinement I guess. The question is, would the drug companies ever let this kind of healing exist?

posted on May, 16 2011 @ 10:43 AM
I think they would, it would still require lots of drugs to do the procedure I guess. Anasthaetic for operation etc and more drugs afterwards like painkillers possibly.

posted on May, 16 2011 @ 10:45 AM
It's good that they can now cure mice of PTSD. Poor things....

posted on May, 16 2011 @ 10:59 AM
Creepy yet facinating.

Where are the long term studies of this treatment. Do the blue green cells stay stable, and live as long as the patient. Has any other internal organ accidentally replicated the gene therapy making say the liver sensitive to blue light?

David Grouchy

posted on May, 16 2011 @ 11:28 AM
I wondered this too.

Also since things work off of algae, does the algae eventually die, or reproduce itself? I wonder how they will manage that part of things?

posted on May, 16 2011 @ 05:08 PM
reply to post by Swizzy

Swizzy, imagine if you will a hypothetical scenario in which you have no use of your limbs. You lost that functionality during a car crash, or a fall , or an attack which affected the part of your brain which affects motor function.. At the moment, you have ,dependant on the exact causes of your injury, a pretty poor chance of regaining the use of your limbs, because the wounds to your head caused damage to your brain, which is ,as you will be aware, one of the most delicate organs in the body.

Now, if you imagine instead , that there IS a treatment, that by identifying the areas of your brain which are damaged, by using this method of observing the behaviour of your motor functional network, and finding out which exact neurons are miss firing, and REPLACING THEM using stem cell techniques. You get back up, you walk around, you heal and lead a normal life, rather than being unable to move.

Those who have PTSD could be re adjusted with this method, and that would be of MASSIVE benifit. Those who have dangerous psychopathologies, could be examined to better understand and one day treat serious psychopathy without the use of drugs , which would be a better outcome for society and for the sufferer of the mental dysfunction. Those with severe learning difficulties could be better treated, as better understanding of the failed mechanics of thier brains comes to the fore. Autism could be treated with this method also. The intelligence often coupled with autism could finaly be counterweighted with the capacity for the sufferer to enjoy interpersonal relationships in a full and engaged manner.

The only problem I foresee with this new found capacity for reprogramming the mind is this. Humanity is flawed , often beyond the understanding of its membership. The likelihood of this new found capability being used solely to improve the lives of mankind, is near enough nil. Someone , somewhere will use this obviously effective method of programming to remove the inhibitions of individuals, or groups of organised individuals, to effect reductions in fear, to increase endurance artificialy, and to remove the limitations that the mind places on the strength of the body. Imagine the effect of programming in the effects of PCP for instance,without the chemical downfalls.

I think this is perhaps the most dangerous piece of research I have heard of for a very long time, but considering the potential benifits, I cannot throw overmuch fear at it.

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