Scientists Successfully Attempt Brain 'Teleportation' Using Laser Beams to Explore 'Inner GPS'
Representative image / Hindi News18.
Can teleportation exist outside of Star-Trek and other science fiction? In a way, yes. A certain kind of brain “teleport” has been just attempted by scientists, successfully, using laser beams. In an experiment relating to memory, a team of Neuroscientists at University College London worked on mice to explore “hidden workings of memory” and “inner GPS.”
The area responsible for memory is hippocampus where they directed the laser beams. They wanted to stimulate the neurons called as “place cells” there. According to the Daily Star, whenever a human or animal enters a new environment, these place cells are activated. The scientists put the mice in one location and gave them a sugar-water reward. The rodents were then moved to another location where laser beams were used to activate the place cells that stored the first location’s memory.
In this process, they could retrieve or reactivate the location’s memory whenever the mice received a reward. This made the animals “mentally teleport” to the first location.
According to the study, the mice started to look for sugar water (from the first location, as they believed that’s where they were). With these results, they wish to understand how memories are stored which could eventually help develop new therapies for memory-related diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.
“Place cells really do tell the mouse where it is, and mice actually ‘listen’ to their place cells when they make decisions. This provides new insights about how memories are stored in the brain, as well as new tools for manipulating these memories to influence behaviour,” said Dr Nick Robinson, lead author from UCL Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research.
He added how memory-related disorders like dementia and Alzheimer’s come at such a huge cost to society. He is hopeful that this study can help create a better understanding of not only the diseases but open up avenues for therapeutic intervention.
Another author mentioned how optical reading and writing of activity in specific neurons can be used to manipulate memories. This might help understand neural circuit activity works in making decisions.