Researchers at MIT reveal, in a paper published last week in the journal Science, that they were able to reactivate memories that could not otherwise be retrieved, using a technology known as optogenetics. Continue reading… “Lost memories reactivated by researchers with optogenetics”
“Now we can go inside the brain and change the way the mice reacts to a memory.”
Memories can be good, bad, or neutral. And now, they can be changed from good to bad, and vice versa, from within the brain—in genetically engineered mice, at least.
The “off-switch” could help scientists develop treatments for patients with some brain diseases.
Scientists have essentially developed an “off-switch” for the brain by using light pulses to effectively shut down neural activity.
Scientists use fiber-optic cables to control neural activity in mice
Molecular “light switches” can reveal exactly which neurons are involved in creating a memory, allowing scientists to trigger that memory using only light. The finding, presented at the Society for Neuroscience conference in Chicago this week, is just one example of how a novel technology called optogenetics is allowing scientists to tackle major unanswered questions about the brain, including the role of specific brain regions in the formation of memory, the process of addiction, and the transition from sleep to wakefulness.