Observing the monotonous EEG (Electroencephalography) patterns has been so last century that now scientists have shifted to actually manipulating the brain, causing innocent mice to hallucinate in an experiment done at Stanford University.
In the experiment, the mice were conditioned to lick a vertical bar and not the horizontal bar when presented with the visual input. At the same time, their brain activity was recorded and measured. Then using the advanced technique of optogenetic: the use of light to stimulate brain cells, the same specific neurons, 20 actually, were activated in the brain’s visual cortex- part of the brain which generates images from the information provided by retina. And now the magic begins! As the light was shone onto the cells of mice sitting in complete darkness, they started licking the vertical bar as if it were actually present there. This showed the image was successfully implanted into the mice’s brain.
This is by far the first step taken towards the long road of being able to stimulate sensation. In the future, this could even help to treat blindness as Anil Seth, a neuroscientist at the University of Sussex in Brighton, UK, says, “These optogenetic techniques really are game-changing.”
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