Author Topic: Tiny brain implant delivers drugs with a remote control  (Read 1490 times)

Offline smfadmin (OP)

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Tiny brain implant delivers drugs with a remote control
« on: July 20, 2015, 01:57:53 PM »

Tiny brain implant delivers drugs with a remote control

An implant, the size of a human hair, can deliver drugs to the brain with the click of a button. A team of researchers from Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Illinois have demonstrated the wireless technology in mice. While a previous iteration of the device delivered LED to neurons that respond to light, the latest experiment successfully introduced pharmacological agents directly to the brain. A drug was first sent to one side of the brain that made a mouse move around in a circle. Next, shining a light onto cells that cue the release of dopamine rewarded the mice with happy feelings. When the rodents came around for more, the researchers used a remote control to interject with a drug that put a halt on the dopamine effect.

Previous experiments required that drugs or other compounds be delivered while the animals were tethered to tubes. But the mice in this particular demonstration roamed free (in a maze) while the drugs were carried wirelessly to the brain. "We've designed it to exploit infrared technology, similar to that used in a TV remote," Jordan McCall, a graduate student at the lab said in a statement. "If we want to influence an animal's behavior with light or with a particular drug, we can simply point the remote at the animal and press a button."

This remote-controlled technology, for now restricted to lab animals, has a specific purpose. Over time it might be used to treat depression or epilepsy by directly targeting specific parts of the human brain with therapies. The soft implant is designed to fit in with the rest of the brain tissue so it can stay lodged for a long time without causing inflammation or damage.
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Offline Narkotikon

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Re: Tiny brain implant delivers drugs with a remote control
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2015, 05:05:44 PM »
This reminds me of a video shown in a psychobiology class I took in college.

The class was about drugs, and the professor showed a clip of a 1950's housewife who had an electrode implanted in her brain.  It was designed to send an electrical charge into her pleasure center, causing a release of dopamine.  I forget why she had it implanted.  Perhaps for depression, or perhaps just for a lab experiment. 

When they were interviewing her on camera, she pressed the button on her remote (a wired remote--she basically had a wire sticking out of her head, leading to a remote she controlled) every two-three seconds.  You could tell she was addicted to the pleasure.  When asked what she felt, she said it was a "sexy" button.  LOL. 

I think this type of research is great.  I'm not sure I'd want a patient controlling this device like that lady in the film though.  Maybe if it were like a PCA pump, where a lockout is in place.  If it were controlled, it would be great for a variety of conditions like epilepsy, depression, anxiety, etc.
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Re: Tiny brain implant delivers drugs with a remote control
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2015, 07:57:08 PM »
i imagine having a "bunch of 'em", each one representing my favorite drug across many genres.

no more eating, drinking, smoking, injecting etc. - just a sophisticated console.

brave new world stuff.

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