Scientists have learned how to anesthetize a specific area of the brain using ultrasound

The technology has already been tested on mice. It will help fight epilepsy.

Ученые научились анестезировать заданную область мозга при помощи ультразвука

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Researchers from Stanford University (USA) was tested in mice a new technology that allows you to “drown out” at the time a certain part of the brain to understand whether her loss on cognitive function. The paper was published in the journal Neuron.

According to the world health organization (who), about 50 million people on the planet (from 0.5 to one percent of the population) suffer from epilepsy. In Russia, according to statistics of the Ministry of health, cases of the disease account for 243 for every hundred thousand people. On average, approximately one third of cases not amenable to medical treatment. Sometimes in such situations resort to surgery, removing part of the brain that causes seizures. However, the effects of such interference is difficult to predict. The technology, developed by scientists from Stanford University, will correct this deficiency.

According to the head of research Arena Raag (Raag Airan), doctors will be able to anesthetize need the part of the brain to perform tests on the patient and to understand how to change his language abilities, memory and other functions in case of removal.

During anesthesia, the researchers used a drug called propofol, which is normally used to maintain anesthesia. For delivery to the brain the authors have created biodegradable nanoparticles that was the drug. First, these “containers” injected into the bloodstream of the mice and waited for when they get into the nervous system. Then physiologists acted upon with ultrasound and a “shell” opened up, releasing propofol.

Ученые научились анестезировать заданную область мозга при помощи ультразвука

Schematic representation of the method / ©Neuron

“Anesthesia was carried out only in those places where we used ultrasound. While the impact of continued anesthesia acted, and his termination was terminated and anesthesia,” says Raag Airan.

Nanoparticles are made of materials that are already approved by the FDA food and drug administration (FDA), so the authors hope that in the coming years will be able to conduct clinical trials. In their opinion, this method has great prospects — in particular, in chemotherapy.

Previously, researchers from the Medical Institute of Howard Hughes and Allen Institute has conducted extensive work on the definition of the map of neurons that control movement of mice from cerebral cortex. They identified two types of cells, some of which are active, while others do it.