Using light to cure psychiatric ailments |

lightbulb with a brain inside
June 17, 2018

By Akshaiyaa V S

And God said, “Let there be light”.

Figuratively, this bible verse points towards light as the foundation of life; the driving force behind our psyche. Bright light is always associated with joy and victory. But sometimes, the best ideas come only in subtle darkness. In this case, it was in the form of algae.

A Unicellular alga known as Chlamydomonas, produces proteins called opsins which can convert light into an electrical signal, thus activating cells on exposure to light. Ed Boyden, an American neuroscientist, discovered that inserting these proteins into the human brain can help solve psychiatric issues by either activating or deactivating the abnormal cell associated with it. As the name suggests, optogenetics combines light-sensitive proteins and genes to help cure such ailments...

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