NOV 26, 2016 5:06 PM PST

Laser Targeting a Specific Neuron Altered Mouse Behavior

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

By targeting neurons in the brain of a mouse with a laser, scientists can manipulate the behavior of that mouse. By using that technique, researchers were able to increase the rate at which a mouse drank a milkshake, but applications of this method will hopefully allow researchers to map the brain with more precision than is currently possible.

Mice that had been genetically altered to have light-sensitive neurons in an area of the brain that perceives and reacts to rewards, the orbitofrontal cortex, were used. Neuroscientists from Stanford University reported at the 2016 annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego, that this technique, optogenetics, could activate a sequence of cells and affect behavior.

Standard methods in optogenetics activate clusters of cells, so optogenetics applications will have to be refined so they target only individual neurons. In this work, the investigators used a device to gain that fine targeting precision. Beyond brain mapping, it could one day in the distant future, be possible to use optogenetics to alter neural patterns to aid people struggling with addiction or post-traumatic stress disorder.
About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on 28 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 60 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
MAY 15, 2020
Earth & The Environment
Fixing the Ozone Layer Resulted in Other Environmental Pollution
MAY 15, 2020
Fixing the Ozone Layer Resulted in Other Environmental Pollution
The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer was enacted in 1987. A new study has revealed that the ...
MAY 17, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Here's Why it's So Critical That We Understand the Sun
MAY 17, 2020
Here's Why it's So Critical That We Understand the Sun
The Sun is just one of countless stars that exist in our universe. But it’s one of the most prominent because it&r ...
MAY 19, 2020
Plants & Animals
Seabirds Often Deal with Thieves When Scouting for Food
MAY 19, 2020
Seabirds Often Deal with Thieves When Scouting for Food
In the bird world, parental units will often split responsibilities. One typically stays behind at the nest to protect t ...
MAY 31, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Another SpaceX Starship Prototype Explodes During Testing
MAY 31, 2020
Another SpaceX Starship Prototype Explodes During Testing
Incomplete Starship prototypes are a common sight if you follow SpaceX’s plethora of rocket-centric projects, but ...
JUN 14, 2020
Space & Astronomy
SpaceX Launches First Rideshare Mission with Great Success
JUN 14, 2020
SpaceX Launches First Rideshare Mission with Great Success
If you’ve been following SpaceX, then you’d know that the commercial space company has been launching quite ...
JUN 26, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Bacterial Virus May Treat and Prevent COVID-19 Infections
JUN 26, 2020
Bacterial Virus May Treat and Prevent COVID-19 Infections
Researchers say that a type of virus known to infect bacteria could be used to treat and prevent COVID-19 bacterial infe ...
Loading Comments...