ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Pharoah's Wine Jar Yields Medicinal Secrets
Fish Oil's Benefits Remain Elusive
Insight on Herbals Eludes Doctors, Patients Alike
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Beware of Dog Bites
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Cane Use May Cut Progression of Knee Osteoarthritis
Tequila Plant May Help Fight Bone Loss
Many Americans Fall Short on Their Vitamin D
CANCER
Higher Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk
Women Smokers Lose 14.5 Years Off Life Span
Many Cancer Patients Turn to Complementary Medicine
CAREGIVING
Injected Medication Errors a Major Problem
Mild Flu Season Coming to a Close
Moms Who Breast-Feed Less Likely to Neglect Child
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Secondhand Smoke Quickly Affects Blood Vessels
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
COSMETIC
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
Health Tip: After Liposuction
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
DENTAL, ORAL
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
Gum Disease Treatment Doesn't Cut Preterm Birth Risk
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
DIABETES
Chamomile Tea May Ward Off Diabetes Damage
Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Up Metabolic Syndrome Risk
Older Diabetics With Depression Face Higher Death Rate
DIET, NUTRITION
Meat Additives May Be Dangerous for Kidney Patients
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
HELP TO LOSE WEIGHT ON A LOW CAL BUDGET
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
Household Chemicals May Affect Cholesterol Levels
EYE CARE, VISION
Kids Who Spend More Time Outdoors Have Better Vision
Cases of Age-Related Farsightedness to Soar
Protein Might One Day Prevent Blindness
FITNESS
Yoga Can Ease Lower Back Pain
Bursts of Vigorous Activity Appear to Be a 'Stress-Buffer'
More Steps a Day Lead to Better Health
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
GENERAL HEALTH
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
Coffee Cuts Liver Scarring in Hepatitis C
Laugh and the World Understands
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Walk Long, Slow and Often to Help the Heart
Chinese Red Yeast Rice May Prevent Heart Attack
Too-Low Blood Pressure Can Also Bring Danger
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Obese Children More Likely to Suffer Lower Body Injuries
Boosting Kids' Stroke IQ May Save Lives
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
MEN'S HEALTH
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
MENTAL HEALTH
Environmental Chemicals May Affect Male Reproduction
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Common Social Groups and Race, Seem to Help People Relate
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
SENIORS
Protein Deposits May Show Up Before Memory Problems Occur, Study Says
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
The Healthy Habits of Centenarians
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Iodine in Prenatal Vitamins Varies Widely
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Green Tea May Help Treat Uterine Fibroids
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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