Three More Star Wars-esque Studies (Think: Mind Control)

Not too long ago, I wrote up an interview with Ed Boyden, an assistant professor at the MIT Media Lab. It was a Q&A about the field of science that he’d more or less invented earlier this century: Optogenetics, in which he crams light-sensitive elements into non-typically light-sensitive cells, and then flips said cells on and off with flashes of colored light. At the time we spoke, Boyden was mostly putting it to use making blind mice see and was starting out on some neuron-by-neuron maps of the brain.

Since then, this stuff’s gotten even cooler. Recently, I’ve run across at least three more awesome, Star Wars-esque studies that have come out of Boyden’s lab, and more. The latest just hit Nature last week. Here’s a rundown of what’s going on in the field; read it now so that 50 years down the line when doctors cure your cancer/eliminate your diabetes/flip on your new kidney/solve those anxiety attacks, you’ll know the guys to thank.

Wireless Mind Control
Earlier this year, optogenetic technology was used to incite and suppress sex and violence in mice using flashes of light — decisively identifying the critical brain regions underlying these behaviors. Six months later, with a technological boost from Boyden and his colleagues at MIT, this has now gone entirely wireless. The advance, which resembles a double-layered computer-inspired graduation cap, allows for longer, larger and more realistic optogenetic behavioral studies as animals no longer need to be tethered by fiber optic cables, and the device doesn’t hinge on heavy, easily drained batteries because the power source is also wireless. Imagine any neurological condition where the behavior of the cells impacts the behavior of the person (so, essentially, all of them) – and this is huge step toward better ways to understand and treat them.

Reward Circuits: Off
Researchers have generally understood for some time now that the connection between the amygdala (the brain’s emotional nexus) and the accumbens (i.e., the reward center) was a hot one when it came to reward, craving, drug seeking, etc. But the brain has been too much of a mess to really see how they tie in together. Until last week when researchers from North Carolina pinpointed the exact role of that excitatory bridge by literally turning it on and off using optogenetics in mice, which, as it happened, turned on and off their reward learning and seeking behavior. It’s a pretty simple and elegant little study, overall, but it highlights two main points: 1) the sheer scope of how precise neuroanatomy can now become, thanks to these tools; and 2) our ability to exactly impact incredibly powerful behaviors. In this case, the subjects and reward were mice and sugar water – but … extend the thought down to the line to humans and say, nicotine, alcohol, or cocaine, and yeah …

Diabetes Treatments
This one’s a little different. Rather than using genes from light-sensitive algae cells, Swiss researchers took genes for light-sensitive elements from the eye and planted them into embryonic kidney cells, which they then slipped those under the skin of diabetic mice. Once implanted, the transgenic kidney cells responded to light by starting a molecular cascade that turned on a gene and made a compound that stabilized the blood sugar in the diabetic mice. All with a flash of light.

Diabetes of the future: p0wned.

  • Soleilmavis

    The development of mind control weapons had a long history.
    Nazi researchers used concentration camp inmates to test a cocaine-based “wonder drug” they hoped would enhance the performance of German troops.
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    There were plenty evidences proving that Mk-ultra (America’s Central Intelligence Agency brainwashing project) existed.
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    Even government still covered Electronic Chips “implant”, Nano technologies “implant” mind control weapons, many researchers had developed implantable electronic chip that may help establish new nerve connections in the part of the brain that controls movement or even alters emotion, thought.
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    In 2002, the Air Force Research Laboratory patented precisely such a technology: Nonleghal weapon which includes (1) a neuro-electromagnetic device which uses microwave transmission of sound into the skull of persons or animals by way of pulse-modulated microwave radiation; and (2) a silent sound device which can transmit sound into the skull of person or animals. NOTE: The sound modulation may be voice or audio subliminal messages. One application of Voice to Skull is use as an electronic scarecrow to frighten birds in the vicinity of airports. Many mind control victims also have claimed to be harassed by Voice to Skull technologies.
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    It is possible to read someone’s mind by remotely measuring their brain activity, researchers have shown. The technique can even extract information from subjects that they are not aware of themselves.
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    Microwave mind control weapons and Electromagnetic mind control weapons combine with high technology such as satellite; it is hard for victims to find evidences. Some articles had started to report that government developed electromagnetic mind control weapons.
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    Patents were also the proving of well development of Mind Control technologies. ( )

    I wish to file my lawsuits to against government who covered such horrible mind control weapons (and Directed Energy Weapons) abuses and tortures.
    Some lawsuits filed by Soleilmavis

    Kidnapped by Mind Control Weapons, and Sent to US Embassy in Hong Kong (Soleilmavis)