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Flashes of light may one day be used to control the human brain, and that day just got a lot closer.
Using lasers, researchers at the MIT Media Lab were able to activate a specific set of neurons in a monkey’s brain. Though the technique has been used to control and explore neural circuits in fish, flies and rodents, this is the first time the much-hyped technology has ever been used in primates.
“Many disorders are associated with changes in specific cell types,” said Boyden. “For therapeutic purposes, you want to affect certain cells, but you want to leave normal cells intact. The ability to use light to turn specific cells on and off with very precise timing could in principle allow new therapies.”
Future applications could involve using light-emitting neural prosthetics to replace the electrodes used in deep brain stimulation, which currently activate or silence a broad range of neurons. Deep brain stimulation has shown promise in treatments of Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy and depression, but it has a number of side effects, stemming in part from its lack of specificity.
“Our ability to remedy problems in the brain may ultimately be limited by how many side effects occur,” said Boyden. “We could find ways to shut down seizures but the side effects might be intolerable. By pinpointing specific cell types, we could craft therapeutic neuromodulators and directly develop therapies, while preserving a high degree of well-being.”
Genetically, mice are ideal model organisms — but their behavioral repertoire isn’t very sophisticated. If neuroscientists hope to understand and treat problems like ADHD, schizophrenia, depression and compulsive behaviors like addiction, they can run far-more-powerful experiments using primates.
“There are many limitations with the current way we try to understand neural circuits, primarily the lack of specificity. The hope is that as this sort of research continues in labs around the world, it will become possible to specifically target many different classes of neurons. We can learn how each of them contributes to specific cognitive functions.”
A team at Harvard University has built a computerized system to manipulate worms—making them start and stop, giving them the sensation of being touched, and even prompting them to lay eggs
Originally posted by speculativeoptimist
Cool, laser precision(less collateral damage perhaps), but the ability to turn individual cells on and off sounds like a lot of power if it were used for nefarious purposes. Surely they will be able to target a single atom if desired at some point.
Sounds like this an inevitable part of our future and as with so many powerful innovations, I hope more good than harm is done. I see additional uses like crowd control or persuasion for the masses. I just think opening pathways to such intimate areas could be scary. Are these lasers visible? Perhaps the title is misleading, and "controlled" is far fetched, but I personally have a few reservations about the abilities at our forefront these days with quantum computing, human genome mapping/ therapy and pharmaceutical industries' lust for profits beyond viability. A brave new world indeed...
Magnetocardiography (MCG) is a technique to measure the magnetic fields produced by electrical activity in the heart using extremely sensitive devices such as the Superconducting Quantum Interference Device (SQUIDs). If the magnetic field is measured using a multichannel device, a map of the magnetic field is obtained over the chest; from such a map, using mathematical algorithms that take into account the conductivity structure of the torso, it is possible to locate the source of the activity. For example, sources of abnormal rhythms or arrhythmia, may be located using MCG.
2 Clinical Implementation
3 See also
5 External links
The first MCG measurements were made by Baule and McFee using two large coils placed over the chest, connected in opposition to cancel out the relatively large magnetic background. Heart signals were indeed seen, but were very noisy. The next development was by David Cohen, who used a magnetically shielded room to reduce the background, and a smaller coil with better electronics; the heart signals were now less noisy, allowing a magnetic map to be made, verifying the magnetic properties and source of the signal. However, the use of an inherently noisy coil detector discouraged widespread interest in the MCG. The turning point came with the development of the sensitive detector called the SQUID (superconducting quantum interference device) by James Zimmerman. The combination of this detector and Cohen's new shielded room at MIT allowed the MCG signal to be seen as clearly as the conventional electrocardiogram, and the publication of this result marked the real beginning of magnetocardiography (as well as Biomagnetism generally).
Magnetocardiography is now used in various laboratories and clinics around the world, both for research on the normal human heart, and for clinical diagnosis.
Clinical Implementation 
Recent MCG technology has been implemented to hospitals in Germany. The MCG system, CS MAG II of Biomagnetik Park GmbH was installed in Asklepios Hospital, Hamburg in 2011.
Originally posted by tetra50
I am so tired of your "nothing to see here...move on, bullcrap, etc....
so tell me how you are going to save us from the ongoing lies of logic, etc....and save us all, please.....
because I am waiting with baited breath...
and that's the thing...I have challenged you where it hurts and it true or not .....becaue you cannot provide the proof of life and what it means no more than I can.......and I am downright tired of feeding people like you, who deny theire being fed, and surviving off mistaken science, purposefully, while you benefit and live off the lie......
There will probably, likely, be a day, a time, and a place, where and when the SHTF, and you will NOT be on my shortlist...
Originally posted by speculativeoptimist
reply to post by Bedlam
Yes, I can comprehend and realize the title(not mine) implication may be a bit reaching,yet accurate for now, at least in a therapeutic setting for specific disabilities/injuries.
The slippery slope, as in any nefarious uses, may occur in the near future as they dial this in more. Yes I know "may" is speculation, but that is as far as I wanted to present it as, not " oh my they are out to control us." I just think as this tech is further developed a laser could be used from a distance to target specific brain regions for desired reaction. Sci-fi? Maybe but you know how that could be, today's fantasy is tomorrows reality sometimes.