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

Pence aide says intel report of Russia helping Trump is "false information"

Marc Short. Screenshot: Fox News

Marc Short, chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, claimed on "Fox News Sunday" that the White House has not received intelligence that Russia is seeking to help President Trump win re-election, calling it "false information" that has been selectively leaked by Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee.

The big picture: Short and national security adviser Robert O'Brien both dismissed reports published in the Washington Post and New York Times last week about a briefing provided by top election security official Shelby Pierson, an aide to outgoing acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire.

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Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks in San Antonio last night with his wife, Jane. Photo: Eric Gay/AP

Sen. Bernie Sanders won so big in the Nevada caucuses that Democrats are hard-pressed to sketch a way he's not their nominee.

Driving the news: With 60% of precincts counted (slow, but better than Iowa!), Sanders is running away with 46% of delegates — crushing Joe Biden's 20%, Pete Buttigieg's 15%, Sen. Elizabeth Warren's 10% and Sen. Amy Klobuchar's 5%.

Clyburn: Sanders' "socialist" label will be "extra burden" in House races

Jim Clyburn with Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) said on ABC's "This Week" Sunday that Sen. Bernie Sanders' identification as a democratic socialist may be an "extra burden" in down-ballot House races if he were to win the Democratic nomination.

Why it matters: Clyburn's comments echo fears from many establishment Democrats, who worry the House majority they won in 2018 by taking moderate seats carried by President Trump could be at risk with Sanders at the top of the ticket.