Researchers can delay a monkey’s reaching movement by shining a beam of light into its brain, according to unpublished research presented at a poster session Sunday at the 2011 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in Washington, D.C.
Because people are more similar to monkeys than to mice, the primate version of this flashy technique will be invaluable for understanding which circuits underlie human behaviors, the researchers say. It could eventually lead to treatments for motor or psychiatric disease, akin to deep brain stimulation, they add.
“As optogenetics becomes more viable as a therapeutic tool in the future, we’re beginning the process of validating safety and efficacy in non-human primates,” says Dan O’Shea, a graduate student inKrishna Shenoy‘s lab at Stanford University, who showed the poster.
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