Light Pulses May Restore Muscle Activity

6a00d83453140969e2013487ce0a55970c-500wi.jpeg

Photo courtesy of Flickr.


Pulses of light may one day give fully restored muscle activity to people with cerebral palsy or paralyzed limbs, New Scientist reports.

Researchers at Stanford University are using light-activated proteins from photosynthetic algae to control nerve cells, according to New Scientist. They are testing the technique on anesthetized mice and measuring muscle contractions while stimulating the sciatic nerve with light-emitting diodes.

Light pulses fire nerves in the natural order, researchers told New Scientist, resulting in normal muscle movements, unlike electrical stimulation, which activates fast-twitch muscles before slow-twitch ones and results in jerky movements. If the technique translates to humans, that would mean new muscle functionality for people with cerebral palsy and paralysis.

--Nick Davidson

Filed To: Science
More Adventure

Holiday Subscription Sale! Save 79% and Get a Free Gift!

Subscribe
Pinterest Icon