Welcome to the Nexus of Ethics, Psychology, Morality, Philosophy and Health Care

Welcome to the nexus of ethics, psychology, morality, philosophy and health care

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Drug discovery: A jump-start for electroceuticals

Kristoffer Famm, Brian Litt, Kevin J. Tracey, Edward S. Boyden & Moncef Slaoui
Nature 496, 159–161 (11 April 2013) doi:10.1038/496159a

Here are some excerpts:

Imagine a day when electrical impulses are a mainstay of medical treatment. Your clinician will administer 'electroceuticals' that target individual nerve fibres or specific brain circuits to treat an array of conditions. These treatments will modulate the neural impulses controlling the body, repair lost function and restore health. They could, for example, coax insulin from cells to treat diabetes, regulate food intake to treat obesity and correct balances in smooth-muscle tone to treat hypertension and pulmonary diseases.

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Critics will argue that we underestimate the complexity of the nervous system; the challenges in reliably, durably and non-disruptively manipulating groups of individual neurons and the sheer volume of neural information flowing through these circuits. We would argue that miniaturization and big-data handling have been among the most rapidly advancing areas of scientific research in the past decade. Starting off with peripheral intervention points and simpler circuits should also help.

The entire story is here, hiding behind a paywall.
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