Researchers at MIT have developed a new technology that can be used to study the communication between the brain and the gut. Using fibers embedded with sensors and light sources, the researchers have shown that they can control neural circuits connecting the gut and the brain in mice. In a recent study, they manipulated cells in the intestine to induce feelings of fullness or reward-seeking behavior in mice. The researchers hope to further investigate the link between digestive health and neurological disorders such as autism and Parkinson’s disease. The technology allows for precise measurement of neuronal signals, which occur within milliseconds. The researchers created flexible fibers that can be inserted into different organs, including stiffer fibers for the brain and delicate rubbery fibers for the digestive organs. The fibers can carry out various functions, such as optogenetic stimulation of cells and delivery of drugs. The fibers can be controlled wirelessly, and the researchers have demonstrated their ability to influence behavior by manipulating the gut and the brain. This technology offers new opportunities for studying and potentially managing conditions through the manipulation of gut-brain circuits.
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