ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Ginkgo No Shield Against Alzheimer's
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Study Examines How Rheumatoid Arthritis Destroys Bone
For All Their Plusses, Pets Pose a Risk for Falls, Too
Fruits and Veggies May Strengthen Bones
CANCER
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Women Smokers Lose 14.5 Years Off Life Span
Many Ignore Symptoms of Bladder Trouble
CAREGIVING
Transition From Home to Hospital Rarely Seamless
Tainted China Formula Caused High Rate of Kidney Stones in Kids
Few Hospitals Embracing Electronic Health Record Systems
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Health Tip: Are You Anemic?
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
Smog Tougher on the Obese
COSMETIC
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
DIABETES
Study Shows Turmeric May Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Poor Blood Sugar Control After Heart Surgery Impacts Outcomes
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
DIET, NUTRITION
Low Vitamin D Levels May Initiate Cancer Development
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
Blueberry Drink Protects Mice From Obesity, Diabetes
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Controversial Chemical Lingers Longer in the Body
Accumulated Lead May Affect Older Women's Brains
Plastics Chemical Tied to Aggression in Young Girls
EYE CARE, VISION
Decorative Halloween Eye Lenses May Pose Serious Risks
Blood Sugar Control Helps Diabetics Preserve Sight
Glaucoma Associated With Reading Impairments in Elderly
FITNESS
Research Confirms How Valuable A Healthy Lifestyle Can Be
Exercise 30 Minutes a Day? Who Knew!
Football Can Shrink Players
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
GENERAL HEALTH
Heavy Alcohol Use Linked to Cancer
Quit Smoking the Holistic Way
Most Women Struggle With Rising Health Care Costs
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Fructose Boosts Blood Pressure, Studies Find
Most Fast-Food French Fries Cooked in Unhealthiest Oil
Psychiatric Drugs Might Raise Cardiac Death Risk
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Protect Your Kids From Swine Flu While at Camp
Even Young Kids Can Learn CPR
Meaningful Conversations Boost Kids' Language Skills
MEN'S HEALTH
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
Keeping a Healthy Holiday Balance
Man's Best Friend Helps Mend Broken Hearts
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
SENIORS
Rapid Weight Loss in Seniors Signals Higher Dementia Risk
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Video Gaming Just Might Fight Aging
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Simple Carbs Pose Heart Risk for Women
How Much Fish to Eat While Pregnant?
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
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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