About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us

Pulsed Ultrasound Techniques to Stimulate Brain Circuit Activity

by Tanya Thomas on November 1, 2008 at 11:18 AM
Font : A-A+

 Pulsed Ultrasound Techniques to Stimulate Brain Circuit Activity

A new "pulsed ultrasound technique" that can remotely stimulate brain circuit activity has been developed by neuroscientists at Arizona State University. This new technique works without any requirement for exogenous proteins or even medical devices that are surgically implanted for a similar purpose.

The new study provides insights into how low-power ultrasound can be harnessed for the noninvasive neurostimulation of brain circuits and offers the potential for new treatments of brain disorders and diseases, like traumatic stress disorders, traumatic brain injury and even Alzheimer's disease.


"We were able to unravel how ultrasound can stimulate the electrical activity of neurons by optically monitoring the activity of neuronal circuits, while we simultaneously propagated low-intensity, low-frequency ultrasound through brain tissues," said lead investigator William "Jamie" Tyler.

The researchers discovered that remotely delivered low intensity, low frequency ultrasound (LILFU) increased the activity of voltage-gated sodium and calcium channels in a way sufficient to trigger action potentials and the release of neurotransmitter from synapses.

As the processes are important for transferring information among neurons, the researchers suggested that this type of ultrasound provides a powerful new tool for modulating the activity of neural circuits.

"Many of the stimulation methods used by neuroscientists require the use and implantation of stimulating electrodes, requiring direct contact with nervous tissue or the introduction of exogenous proteins, such as those used for the light-activation of neurons," explained Tyler.

In their search for new types of noninvasive neurostimulation methods, the scientists revisited ultrasound.

"We were quite surprised to find that ultrasound at power levels lower than those typically used in routine diagnostic medical imaging procedures could produce an increase in the activity of neurons while higher power levels produced very little effect on their activity," said Tyler.

The skull has been a stumbling block to using ultrasound noninvasively in the brain. However, they found that low-frequency ultrasound could be focused through human skulls.

Talking about the potential of using his groups' methods to remotely control brain activity, Tyler said: "One might be able to envision potential applications ranging from medical interventions to use in video gaming or the creation of artificial memories along the lines of Arnold Schwarzenegger's character in 'Total Recall.' Imagine taking a vacation without actually going anywhere?

"Obviously, we need to conduct further research and development, but one of the most exhilarating prospects is that low intensity, low frequency ultrasound permits deep-brain stimulation procedures without requiring exogenous proteins or surgically implanted medical devices."

The study is published in the latest issue of the journal Public Library of Science (PLoS) One.

Source: ANI

News A-Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Printed Temperature Sensors help with Continuous Temperature Monitoring
Health Benefits of Giloy
Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2021 - It's time to RISE
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Parkinsons Disease Radioisotope Scan Parkinsons Disease Surgical Treatment Egg Donation Ultrasound Brain Brain Facts Ataxia Language Areas in The Brain Transvaginal Ultrasound 

Recommended Reading
Ultrasound scan or sonogram uses sound waves to obtain images of the internal organs. Ultrasound ......
Leg Clot can be Detected by Simple Method as Well
Scientists have found that a simpler tool was as effective as the complex one in a comparison ......
Safer and More Effective Cancer Therapy Possible With Endoscopic Ultrasound
American scientists are studying the efficacy of a therapeutic technique that can allow doctors to ....
Ataxia affects coordination. Gait becomes unstable and the patient loses balance. The cerebellum or ...
Egg Donation
The term ‘Egg Donation’ is commonly used to refer to the contribution of her eggs by a woman to anot...
Language Areas in The Brain
The mechanism of how human brain processes the language to express and comprehend the verbal, writte...
Parkinsons Disease
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease caused by progressive dopamine brain cells loss. ...
Radioisotope Scan
Encyclopedia section of medindia gives general info about Nuclear Medicine...
Transvaginal Ultrasound
Transvaginal ultrasound/sonogram is used to examine uterus, ovaries, cervix and pelvic organs. Sonog...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use