ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
U.S. Spends Billions On Alternative Medicine
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
When Healing Becomes a Commodity
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Safe Toys for Dogs
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Varicose, Spider Veins May Be Inevitable for Some
Scientists Discover How Osteoarthritis Destroys Cartilage
Put Your Best Foot Forward Next Year
CANCER
To Quit Smoking, Try Logging On
Well Water Might Raise Bladder Cancer Risk
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
CAREGIVING
Babies Born in High Pollen Months at Wheezing Risk
Are Hospital Mobile Phones Dialing Up Superbugs?
U.S. Mental Health Spending Rises, But Many Still Left Out
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
COSMETIC
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
DENTAL, ORAL
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
Gummy Bears Join Cavity Fight
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
DIABETES
Poor Blood Sugar Control After Heart Surgery Impacts Outcomes
Doctors Urged to Screen Diabetics for Sleep Apnea
Findings Challenge Tight Glucose Control for Critically Ill Patients
DIET, NUTRITION
Oregano Shown to be the Most Powerful Culinary Herb
Vitamin B12 Key to Aging Brain
Even in 'Last Supper,' Portion Sizes Have Grown
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Gas Stove Emissions Boost Asthma in Inner-City Kids
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Gas Cooking Might Up Your Cancer Risk
EYE CARE, VISION
Green Tea May Ward Off Eye Disease
Music Can Help Restore Stroke Patients' Sight
Vision Test for Young Children Called Unreliable
FITNESS
Football Can Shrink Players
Moderate Aerobic Exercise Lowers Diabetics' Liver Fat
Go To Work But Skip The Car
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
Man Dies of Brain Inflammation Caused by Deer Tick Virus
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Man's Best Friend Helps Mend Broken Hearts
Fondness for Fish Keeps Japanese Hearts Healthy
Relaxation Tapes or Mozart Lower Blood Pressure
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Wood Fires Can Harm the Youngest Lungs
Even Young Kids Can Learn CPR
Scorpion Anti-Venom Speeds Children's Recovery
MEN'S HEALTH
Countdown to Hair Loss
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
MENTAL HEALTH
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Musicians' Brains Tuned to Emotions in Sound
Fear Response May Stem From Protein in Brain
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
SENIORS
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Money May Matter, Health-Wise, in Old Age
Community Exercise Programs Boost Seniors' Strength
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
Broccoli May Help Battle Breast Cancer
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
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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