Controlling Brains With a Flick of a Light Switch
discovermagazine.com | September 25, 2012
“Using the new science of optogenetics, scientists can activate or shut down neural pathways, altering behavior and heralding a true cure for psychiatric disease . …”
We’re supposed to believe this technology is going to be used primarily for good (if that was possible). Is altering or damaging the brain going to “cure” psychiatric conditions? I don’t believe it.
“…In his lab at Stanford University’s Clark Center, Deisseroth is developing a remarkable way to switch brain cells off and on by exposing them to targeted green, yellow, or blue flashes….
“… When sunlight hits the opsin, it instantly sends an electric signal through the microbe’s cell membrane, telling the tiny critter which way to turn in relation to the sun.
“Deisseroth wondered if he could insert these opsins into targeted mammalian brain cells in order to make them light-sensitive too. If so, he could learn to control their behavior using light. Shining light into the brain could then become the tool Crick imagined, providing a way to control neurons without electric shocks or slow-acting, unfocused drugs….”