ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
Licorice May Block Absorption of Organ Transplant Drug
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Hip Replacement Boosts Mobility at Any Age
Too Few Screened for Abdominal Aneurysm, Study Says
Healthy adults have potential autoimmune disease-causing cells
CANCER
Immune Therapy May Aid Kids With Neuroblastoma
HPV Vaccine Has Higher Allergic Reaction Rate
Sharing Cancer Info May Be Empowering
CAREGIVING
Early Exercise Boosts Outcomes for ICU Patients
Tiniest Babies Carry Biggest Costs
Diabetes Epidemic Now Poses Challenges for Nursing Homes
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
COSMETIC
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
DENTAL, ORAL
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
DIABETES
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
Diabetes Linked to Cognitive Problems
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Updated
DIET, NUTRITION
Coffee Drinking Lowers Women's Stroke Risk
More Educated Choose Healthier Foods, But Pay More
Fasting on Alternate Days May Make Dieting Easier
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Gene Explains How High-Fructose Diets Lead to Insulin Resistance
Greener Neighborhoods Mean Slimmer Children
Environmental Chemicals May Affect Male Reproduction
EYE CARE, VISION
Kids Think Glasses Make Others Look Smart, Honest
'Blind' Man Navigates Obstacle Course Without Error
Unconscious Learning: In the Eye of the Beholder?
FITNESS
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
Exercise Cuts Lung Cancer Risk in Ex-Smokers by 45%
Occupational Therapy Plus Exercise Benefits Osteoarthritis
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
The Brain Comes Alive With the Sounds of Music
Afternoon Nap Might Make You Smarter
Swine Flu May Have Infected More Than 100,000 Americans
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Quitting Smoking Doubles Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer
Most Fast-Food French Fries Cooked in Unhealthiest Oil
Vitamin B3 May Help Repair Brain After a Stroke
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Safety Should Be Priority for Those Involved in Kids' Sports
Babies Who Eat Fish Lower Eczema Risk
Meaningful Conversations Boost Kids' Language Skills
MEN'S HEALTH
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
MENTAL HEALTH
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
17 Ways to Create the Perfect Workday
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
SENIORS
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
Martial Arts Training May Save Seniors' Hips
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Acupuncture May Help Relieve Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Iodine in Prenatal Vitamins Varies Widely
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
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Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity

New tools that use different colors of light to silence brain activity could lead to new treatments for disorders such as epilepsy, chronic pain, Parkinson's disease and brain injury, neuroscientists say.

These so-called "super-silencers" provide precise control over the timing of the shutdown of overactive brain circuits, something that's impossible with existing drugs or other conventional treatments, according to the research team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The research is published in the Jan. 7 issue of the journal Nature.

"Silencing different sets of neurons with different colors of light allows us to understand how they work together to implement brain functions," study senior author Ed Boyden, a professor in the MIT Media Lab and an associate member of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, said in a news release.

"Using these new tools, we can look at two neural pathways and study how they compute together. These tools will help us understand how to control neural circuits, leading to new understandings and treatments for brain disorders -- some of the biggest unmet medical needs in the world," Boyden added.

He and his colleagues developed the super-silencers using two genes -- Arch and Mac -- found in different organisms such as bacteria and fungi. The genes encode for light-activated proteins that help organisms make energy. The activity of neurons engineered to express Arch and Mac can be inhibited by shining light on them. The light activates the proteins, resulting in lower voltage in the neurons, which prevents them from firing effectively, Boyden explained.

Yellow light silences Arch and blue light silences Mac.

"In this way, the brain can be programmed with different colors of light to identify and possibly correct the corrupted neural computations that lead to disease," study co-author Brian Chow, a postdoctoral associate in Boyden's lab, said in the news release.


SOURCES: MIT, news release, Jan. 6, 2010 Published on: January 06, 2010