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Science wants to control your mind…for your own good!

Through the application of drugs and Lego, researchers are looking to decode ailments of the mind (beyond your control).

 

 

As it turns out, a team of scientists have invented a device that can control neural circuits using a smartphone. You what, mate.

The researchers believe that the device can speed up efforts to uncover brain diseases, hoping to decode the Batman and Robin of cranial ailments, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

The device, by using Lego brick-like replaceable drug cartridges (which also hurts if you step on it) and powerful Bluetooth technology (because it’s 2009), can target specific neurons.

“The wireless neural device enables chronic chemical and optical neuromodulation that has never been achieved before,” said lead author Raza Qazi, a researcher with the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and University of Colorado Boulder.

 

These ‘plug-n-play’ drug cartridges were assembled into a brain implant for mice with a soft and ultrathin probe (thickness of a human hair), which consisted of microfluidic channels and tiny LEDs (smaller than a grain of salt), for unlimited drug doses and light delivery.

 

These ‘plug-n-play’ drug cartridges were assembled into a brain implant for mice with a soft and ultrathin probe (thickness of a human hair), which consisted of microfluidic channels and tiny LEDs (smaller than a grain of salt), for unlimited drug doses and light delivery.

Controlled with an elegant and simple user interface on a smartphone, neuroscientists can easily trigger any specific combination or precise sequencing of light and drug deliveries in any implanted target animal without need to be physically inside the laboratory. Using these wireless neural devices, researchers could also easily set up fully automated animal studies where the behaviour of one animal could positively or negatively affect behaviour in other animals by the conditional triggering of light and/or drug delivery.


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“This revolutionary device is the fruit of advanced electronics design and powerful micro and nanoscale engineering,” said Jae-Woong Jeong, a professor of electrical engineering at KAIST. “We are interested in further developing this technology to make a brain implant for clinical applications.”

Michael Bruchas, a professor of anesthesiology and pain medicine and pharmacology at the University of Washington School of Medicine, said this technology will help researchers in many ways.

“It allows us to better dissect the neural circuit basis of behaviour, and how specific neuromodulators in the brain tune behaviour in various ways,” he said. “We are also eager to use the device for complex pharmacological studies, which could help us develop new therapeutics for pain, addiction, and emotional disorders.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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