Friday, October 09, 2015
A Gee Whiz! moment. Activating neurons with ultrasound.
Optogenetics, making nerve cells sensitive to light by a genetic manipulation, has the limitation that light doesn't penetrate living tissue very well, and so must be delivered by a invasive thin fiber optic stimulation. Frank and Gorman offer a video clip describing work of Ibsen et al., who show a nerve cell can be genetically altered to become sensitive to activation by non-invasive ultrasound, an approach they described as "sonogenetics." The video (I could do without the rock music sound track) shows a worm's movement changing direction as a nerve cell is stimulated by ultrasound.