Scientists Succeed in Implanting Hallucinations in Animal Brain
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In a work published in the journal science on 1st July, Scientists have successfully induced visual hallucinations in mice by stimulating a handful of cells in their brains using light. The achievement is extremely significant as the findings presented would help to improve our understanding of how brain interprets things based on vision.
In their work, Karl Deisseroth of Stanford University in California and his colleagues trained mice to lick water from a tube when they see image of vertical mass. After monitoring the animal’s brain they have identified 20 cells that are associated with the vertical image neuron-fire. The team then created hallucinations by showing light only to these neurons while the animals were kept in darkness. The animals licked water as if they have really seen the vertical bars. On the other hand when the cells associated with horizontal lines were stimulated, the animals didn’t respond.
The next challenge before these scientist would be to find out how the neurons that sense images interact with the brain locations where the meaning of visual information are interpreted. Advanced studies in these areas could pave way to the development of devices which will one day restore vision of the blind.
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