Tag Archives: migraine

Lasers: A new way to map the brain!

pixabay lasersResearchers have found a way to map the brain using lasers! Chemists from Stanford University have come up with a way to track blood vessels in the brain in a new, non-invasive technique. Ultimately, this research could help improve the understanding of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Current methods for investigating the brain are either too invasive or not detailed enough. Surgery can cause trauma that can negatively impact brain activity, and while MRIs and CT scans can give a good amount of information, sometimes it just isn’t enough.

That’s where this new technique comes in. Researchers inject water-soluble carbon nanotubes into a mouse’s bloodstream. These nanotubes fluoresce at particular wavelengths, so when researchers shine a near-infrared laser over the mouse’s skull, they can see the nanotubes, which show the structures of blood vessels. Scientists were able to see about 3mm underneath the scalp, and this technique doesn’t appear to have any negative effects on brain functions.

This research was developed in mice, but it may be able to be used in humans as well. The technique would need to be modified to allow researchers to see deeper into the brain, and they would need to identify an appropriate fluorescing agent to use. But hopefully, this new technique could give researchers a new way to study strokes, migraines, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s diseases. Read more about it here:

http://news.stanford.edu/news/2014/august/skull-blood-flow-080614.html

Botox- for cancer patients?

eautician giving an injectionBotox- for cancer patients? What?? Yes, you read that right. Botox is commonly known for use in plastic surgery applications. But it may soon have clinical applications for patients suffering from chronic pain!

Botox’s main component is a bacterial poison called botulinum. It works by blocking signaling between muscles and nerve cells, which is useful for cosmetic injections because it stops muscles from moving and wrinkles from developing. Botox can also have pain-relieving qualities, but there is some concern that if Botox is used for pain relief, patients might suffer from paralysis in the area in question.

But now, researchers have combined the pain-relieving elements of Botox with elements of the tetanus bug in such a way that it can stop pain signals sent between the spinal cord and the brain- basically taking the best parts of the two molecules and using them for good. This makes this new drug a potentially useful pain medication for cancer patients as well as others suffering from chronic pain.

As animal trials have been successful, it looks like this new drug could be available in as soon as 3 years! Check out the link below to learn more.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2479300/Botox-jab-ease-arthritis-cancer-effects.html