Optogenetics: Controlling the Brain with Light

Photo source/credit: Ed Boyden/McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT

Photo source/credit: Ed Boyden/McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT

What if we could suddenly cease cravings caused by addiction or turn off feelings of depression with the flip of a switch? To better understand “one of the hottest areas of neuroscience research,” the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) welcomed three guests to discuss the latest developments in the field of optogenetics. The June 9th event was the latest in a series of luncheon briefings on Capitol Hill, hosted by AAAS and funded by the Dana Foundation.

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DABI Member Involved in Parkinson’s Study

Dana Alliance member Suzanne Corkin, Ph.D., of M.I.T., is the lead author of a newly published imaging study, which better shows the progression of Parkinson’s disease in living patients, and could lead to more tailored treatments.

According to yesterday’s New York Times:

[The investigators] worked out a way to combine four different sorts of M.R.I. to get clear pictures of damage to two brain structures in people living with Parkinson’s. In doing so, they have added support to one part of the recent hypothesis, which is that the disease first strikes an area involved in movement and later progresses to a higher part of the brain more involved in memory and attention.

Dr. Corkin was awarded a Dana Foundation grant in the mid-1990s to study the pathophysiology of cognitive decline in Parkinson’s disease.

– Ann L. Whitman

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