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Genes learned to manage by using the power of thought PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 13 November 2014 16:33

Researchers from Switzerland reported that they have learned to include genes with the power of thought. Human brain waves activated tiny LED that was implanted in the body of laboratory mice (implant size was about 2 cm). This led to the activation of genes that have been pre-programmed to respond to light.

The work used infrared light, as it is not harmful to living cells and with it can penetrate deep enough into the tissue. The latter allows you to visually monitor the functioning of the implant.

"Our work - this is a huge step forward - says lead study author bioengineer Martin Fussenegger of ETH Zurich. - You probably want to know why you need to think in order to activate the genes? After all, you can simply press a button [when the LED is implanted into the body - Ed.] and awaken the LED. However, in the world are many patients who are unable to communicate with the outside world. All that they remain - this mental activity and brain waves. "

And no fantastic things in this concept is not - this is a very clear relationship of different technologies.

Glow have activated brain waves (photo Martin Fussenegger et al., ETH Zurich).

The researchers placed the device on the foreheads of electroencephalographic volunteers to record their brain waves. Participants were asked to simulate a variety of mental conditions (including concentration and relaxation). Volunteers mastered meditation techniques and play games that require attention.

The recorded brain waves analyzed and transmitted via Bluetooth to the controller, which in turn is controlled oscillator electromagnetic field. The obtained electrical signals were then used to enable the infrared LED, implanted in mice body caged on the generator.
LED activated gene, one started to produce a protein called secreted alkaline phosphatase, which was then detected in the bloodstream of an animal.

"With all three different mental states was linked any particular activity of the brain, and it was broadcast via LED - explains Fassenegger. - In response genes produce proteins that then circulated through the body of a rodent."

The study used a fairly simple computer interface, processes the signals of the brain.

Optogeneticheskie implants are visible through the skin of mice (photo Martin Fussenegger et al., ETH Zurich).

In fact, progress in this area have moved far enough. Through the power of thoughts paralyzed people can control robotic arm, there are also subordinate to the brain waves of prostheses, aircraft simulators and quadrocopter.

A method of controlling genes and cells with light studying science optogenetics. Genes and cells in these studies "programmed" (modified) so as to respond to light.

Various previous studies have already demonstrated efficiency of this method (for example, light helped subdue the will of man rodents). However, until all the experiments were carried out only with the participation of cell cultures and laboratory mice, so that science currently not fully understood all the prospects optogenetics. It is not clear how useful it will be in practical use in the case of man. Moreover, scientists must constantly improve the technology of decoding brainwaves for the most accurate signal recognition.

Create a team of scientists implants (photo Martin Fussenegger et al., ETH Zurich).

The study's authors believe that their technology could one day help control pain, spasms and seizures, and possibly even cure some diseases of the brain and neurological diseases.

In theory it is possible, and the nonmedical use of the concept. For example, people will be able to force your body to produce certain hormones and other chemicals that have a positive effect on mood or allow calm in stressful situations.

However, this research work - only a proof of concept, and to its practical implementation still have a lot of work. For example, you first need to prove that the modified cells did not damage the brain and find a way to control the amount of protein produced by the light-sensitive cells.


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