Researchers excite deep brain tissue with heat and magnets




MIT researchers have devised a way to stimulate tissue deep in the brains without having to implanting permanent electrodes. This advantage can give a better understanding of intact regions of the brain, and help in the treatment of neurological disorders.

At this time, perform medical operations in which the brain is stimulated with electrical pulses in people with Parkinson’s. These treatments work, but are very far-reaching because electrodes are implanted directly into the brains.

For a study , whose results were published in Science, researchers injected magnetic iron oxide particles of 22 nm diameter in the brains of mice. When the mouse then to an alternating magnetic field was exposed, reheated on the nanoparticles. This resulted in an increase of the temperature, where then the temperature-sensitive ionkanaaltjes TRPV1 responded to, also known as capsaicin receptors.

The neurons in the brain is typically not sensitive to temperature. In order to make the heat-sensitive neurons nevertheless, the researchers to use a method in which a virus other genes in cells deposits to introduce a specific property in this way. The nanoparticles have virtually no interaction with the surrounding tissue when they are heated and generally remain sitting on the place where they are to be inserted, which makes possible long-term treatments.

The technique is partly copied from cancer, in which magnetic fields are used to destroy cancer cells by heating them. In this case the neurons are only excited without destroying them. The magnetic particles have been used for decades as a contrast and are seen as relatively safe. The nanoparticles stay a little longer than a month, present in the mouse brain.


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