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Soundwaves and viruses used to ‘switch off’ memory formation

Tool could open up the brain to precision DNA-editing techniques which allow cellular functions to be turned on or changed at will Researchers have shown it’s possible to temporarily block the brain from forming new memories using a combination of sound waves, viruses and drugs. Using ultrasound blasts California Institute of Technology (Caltech) researchers have been able to temporarily open the brain’s protective barrier to treatments, where usually surgery would be required. In this way they hope it could one day be possible to non-invasively manage epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and other neurological conditions that currently rely on going under the knife. However in the shorter term it is more likely the advance, dubbed “acoustically targeted chemogenetics” in the journal ...

Prediction method for epileptic seizures developed

Epileptic seizures strike with little warning and nearly one third of people living with epilepsy are resistant to treatment that controls these attacks. More than 65 million people worldwide are living with epilepsy.

FDA Approves Medtronic’s Deep Brain Stimulation Therapy for Refractory Epilepsy

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted premarket approval for Medtronic’s Deep Brain Stimulation DBS) therapy as adjunctive treatment for reducing the frequency of partial-onset seizures in individuals 18 years of age or older who are refractory to 3 or more antiepileptic medications.   The therapy delivers controls electrical pulses to the anterior nucleus of the thalamus, a target in the brain that is part of a network involved in seizures.

Capturing Brain Signals With Soft Electronics

NEW TECHNOLOGY BREAKTHROUGH   Klas Tybrandt, principal investigator at the Laboratory of Organic Electronics at Linköping University, has developed new technology for long-term stable neural recording. It is based on a novel elastic material composite, which is biocompatible and retains high electrical conductivity even when stretched to double its original length.   The result has been achieved in collaboration with colleagues in Zürich and New York. The breakthrough, which is crucial for many applications in biomedical engineering, is described in an article published in the prestigious scientific journal Advanced Materials. The coupling between electronic components and nerve cells is crucial not only to collect information about cell signalling, but also to diagnose and treat...

British doctors prepare to implant ‘three-parent’ embryos in women

Doctors at Britain’s Newcastle University have selected two women to bear implanted embryos created from genetic material collected from three parents.   Both women carry gene mutations causing a rare condition known as “myoclonic epilepsy with ragged red fibres,” called “Merrf syndrome” for short.   Mitochondrial Replacement Technology, or MRT, aims to prevent diseases passed through mitochondrial DNA by transferring the mother’s nuclear DNA to a donor egg in which the nucleus has been removed but the mitochondria remains.   Described as “radical therapy” by the UK’s The Guardian, the process was legalized by Britain’s Parliament in 2015 and was met with a huge uproar from religious leaders and ethicists.   Britain’s Newcastle University received a license in March all...