A wide variety of medical conditions arise from either inactive or overactive neurons in the brain and other parts of the body. Being able to control neurons to fire correctly may help treat many diseases and researchers at Stanford University are hard at work studying how transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and ultrasound can make that happen.
TMS uses strong magnetic fields to stimulate regions of the brain, a technology that can use a good deal of research to narrow and focus the fields and to be able to activate regions deep within the brain. Ultrasound has relatively recently been shown to be able to perform similar tricks, the researchers using it to activate retinal nerve cells in an attempt to help correct vision problems. Here’s a Stanford video presenting some of the projects that are underway to help introduce noninvasive neural stimulation for new medical applications: