Patients with certain neurological disorders can achieve relief from their symptoms when appropriate parts of their brains are therapeutically activated. One approach – deep brain stimulation – is as invasive as it sounds, requiring patients to have holes drilled in their skulls and electrodes inserted. An alternative approach – transcranial magnetic stimulation – is entirely non-invasive, yet can only reach the brain’s outer-most layers, thus limiting the conditions it can treat. A new technique currently under development called temporally interfering (TI) stimulation may soon offer the best of both – deep brain stimulation without the surgery. The technique uses two ultrahigh electrical frequencies, which alone don't excite brain cells, passing straight through, but, when combined at a desired target location, interfere with each other and create a low-frequency signal to which neurons respond. Indeed, the image shows TI-induced activation (bright green) of neurons within a mouse’s hippocampus without stimulation of the surrounding brain.
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.