Scientists at McGill University have developed a new method to study how seizures arise in the healthy brain. Using laser light guided through ultra-thin optic fibers in the brain of rodents, the researchers “turned on” light-sensitive proteins in selective brain cells and were able to eventually cause seizures through repeated laser stimulation.
These findings were published March 27, 2019 in the journal Scientific Reports.
“We were able to show that seizures emerge gradually, and in the absence of appreciable brain damage, by driving brain cell activity with light only,” said lead author Elvis Cela, a PhD student in McGill’s Integrated Program in Neuroscience. “Our approach allows for targeting different populations of brain cells to investigate their contributions to seizures while minimizing damage to the brain.”