LEDs Help Paralysed Mice Walk
What a fantastic way to use science to help people who have been paralyzed, walk again! From io9.com:
Mice equipped with a special light-sensitive gene can experience muscle stimulation when put in close contact with nothing more than a few tiny LEDs. It’s a close match for natural muscle stimulation, and could provide a revolutionary paralysis treatment.
Stanford researchers inserted into the mice a gene harvested from algae that created light-sensitive proteins throughout the nerve cells of the mice (you can see the proteins in green, in this cross-section of a nerve). Tiny LED bands were then placed around the mice’s sciatic nerves. The researchers could then use the bulbs to hit these nerves with powerful blasts of blue light, which produced muscle contractions almost indistinguishable from those the mice would have experienced naturally.