Jun 1, 2017

Researchers find new way to stimulate neurons deep in brain

Nir Grossman, Suhasa B. Kodandaramaiah and Andrii Rudenko.

Researchers have discovered a way to stimulate neurons deep within the brain without the invasive, implanted electrodes that physicians currently use to treat severe brain-related conditions like Parkinson's disease.

Current limitations: Implanted electrodes stimulate neurons in just one part of the brain and aren't helpful for other conditions (like stroke, traumatic brain injury or memory loss from Alzheimer's) that might benefit from much wider deep-brain stimulation that doesn't cause lasting damage to surrounding brain tissue.

What they did: Researchers from MIT sent two high-frequency electrical signals, which pass through the brain without exciting many neurons, from opposite sides of the brain in mice. They met in the middle, creating a new type of electrical wave that stimulated the neurons in a deep region of the brain.

Why it matters: Current non-invasive methods aren't able to work deep in the brain, which is where efforts to repair damage to neurons are most needed.

Go deeper

American carnage

Protesters race up a hill to avoid tear gas in Philadelphia, June 1. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

The list of victims has swiftly grown since George Floyd died in police custody just eight days ago.

The big picture: Protests against police brutality have turned into a showcase of police brutality, with tear gas and rubber bullets deployed against crowds. The police have the arsenals at their disposal, but we're also seeing law enforcement officers becoming targets.

McConnell blocks resolution condemning Trump's actions against peaceful protesters

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blocked a resolution introduced by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday that would have condemned the use of tear gas and rubber bullets against peaceful protesters outside the White House on Monday in order to allow President Trump to walk to St. John's Church.

What they're saying: "Justice for black Americans in the face of unjust violence, and peace for our country in the face of looting, riots, and domestic terror. Those are the two issues Americans want addressed," McConnell said on the Senate floor.

George W. Bush breaks silence on George Floyd

Goerge Bush in Michigan in 2009. Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Former President George W. Bush (R) wrote in a statement Tuesday that he and his wife, Laura, are "anguished" by the death of George Floyd, and said that "it is time for America to examine our tragic failures."

Why it matters: It's a stark juxtaposition when compared to fellow Republican President Trump's response to current civil unrest. While Trump has called for justice in Floyd's death, he's also condemned protestors and threatened to deploy military personnel if demonstrations continue.