AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 2, 2017

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Temporary Disconnects Shed Light on Long-Term Brain Dysfunction

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Targeting axons uncovers the brain’s distance communications

Dr. Ofer Yizhar and his group int he Weizmann Institute of Science’s Department of Neurobiology have developed a new research method that could potentially provide other scientists with targeted control over vital parts of the brain’s communication. Dr. Yizhar works in the field of optogenetics. In this field, scientists use genetic engineering and laser light in thin optical fibers to navigate the brain. Using these tools, scientists can control and manipulate activities of nerve circuits in the brain. “The coordination between different brain systems is vital to the normal functioning of the brain,” he says, continuing: “If we can understand the extended lines of communication between cells that are in the different region of the brain – some of them quite far from one another – we might be able, in the future, to understand the changes that take place in the brain in diseases such as depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia. Because we do not have an understanding of these disease on a functional level, we are sorely lacking good ways to treat them.” To read more, click here

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