LED lights can now reveal how our brain works, according to a new study.
Researchers from the University of Michigan have built and tested in mice neural probes, nothing but small implantable LEDs that can control and record the activity of many individual neurons.
In Genetically modified mice, neurons can be turned on and off with the help of light. Each probe array contains 12 LEDs and 32 electrodes. Using this technique researchers have shed light on the brain's neuronal activity by implanting optical fibers and recorded the response with a second device.
‘Neural probes in the size of a tenth of a millimeter equipped with minuscule LED lights and electrodes can stimulate and measure the circuity of hundred individual neurons.’
The team believes that this experiment using probes based on their design could lead to breakthroughs in understanding and treating neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's. The study has been published in the Journal Neuron
"Hundreds of millions of people suffer from neurological diseases, but treatment methods and drugs are currently very limited because scientific understanding of the brain is lacking. We have developed a tool that is needed to better understand how the brain worksóand why it doesn't workóto try to solve to these problems," said Fan Wu, co-first author.