ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Relaxation Tapes or Mozart Lower Blood Pressure
Ginger Can Ease Nausea From Chemotherapy Treatments
Indigo Ointment Benefits Psoriasis Patients
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Beware of Dog Bites
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Too Few Screened for Abdominal Aneurysm, Study Says
Using a Balloon to Repair a Broken Back
Most Kids With Type 1 Diabetes Lack Vitamin D
CANCER
No Verdict Yet on Grape Seed Extract vs. Breast Cancer
Meditation May Reduce Stress in Breast Cancer Patients
Broccoli May Help Battle Breast Cancer
CAREGIVING
With Age Comes Greater Risk of Hypothermia
Late-Life Fatherhood May Lower Child's Intelligence
Timing May Matter in Organ Donation Decisions
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health
Walk 100 Steps a Minute for 'Moderate' Exercise
COSMETIC
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
DENTAL, ORAL
Health Tip: At Risk for Gingivitis
Biological Product Shows Promise Against Gum Disease
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
DIABETES
Chamomile Tea May Ward Off Diabetes Damage
Out-of-Control Blood Sugar May Affect Memory
Spices, Herbs Boost Health for Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
Eating Vegan or Raw-Vegan at Regular Restaurants
Eating Healthy : You Can Live Longer
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
U.S. Diet Needs Heart-Felt Overhaul
Air Pollution May Cause Appendicitis: Study Reveals
Former Inmates at Increased Risk for High Blood Pressure
EYE CARE, VISION
Eye Disease, Cognitive Decline Linked in Study
Too Much Sun, Too Few Antioxidants Spell Eye Trouble
Poor Night Vision May Predict Age-Related Eye Disease
FITNESS
Consciousness Helps the Mind and Body Work Together
Tai Chi: An Ideal Exercise for Many People with Diabetes
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
GENERAL HEALTH
Should the FDA Regulate Tobacco?
Heal Your LifeŽ Tips for Living Well
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Cocoa in Chocolate May Be Good for the Heart
A Little Chocolate May Do the Heart Good
Cherry-Enriched Diet Cut Heart Risks in Rats
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Don't Leave Your Kids In The Car !
More Calcium And Dairy Products in Childhood Could Mean Longer Life
Dangerous Toys Still on Store Shelves, Report Finds
MEN'S HEALTH
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Heal Your LifeŽ Tips for Living Well
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Meditation, Yoga Might Switch Off Stress Genes
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
SENIORS
For Older Walkers, Faster Is Better
Community Exercise Programs Boost Seniors' Strength
Healthy Diet Could Cut Alzheimer's Disease Risk
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
Postmenopausal Women With Breast Cancer Face Joint Issues
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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