Optogenetics lights up neurons after stroke

A treatment for stroke involving optogenetics fires up neurons in the motor cortex by way of a beam of light. This treatment has been shown in preclinical research to improve movement and coordination after a stroke, say researchers at Stanford University in Stanford, Calif.

This BBC News feature shows how optogenetics utilizes optic fibre to stimulate cells genetically engineered to respond to the light.

"The goal is to identify the precise circuits that would be most amenable to interventions in the human brain, post-stroke, so that we can take this approach into clinical trials," said Gary Steinberg, MD, PhD, a lead researcher in the study.

The research was recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science and could lead to better recovery for patients of stroke as well as targets for novel therapies.