Scientists have created artificial neurons that could potentially be implanted into patients to overcome paralysis, and restore failing brain circuits.
The bionic neurons can receive electrical signals from healthy nerve cells, and process them in a natural way, before sending fresh signals on to other neurons, or to muscles and organs elsewhere in the body.
Australian scientists are attempting to make a pill containing many of the benefits of exercise.
But it won’t be medicine for lazy couch potatoes.
The futuristic therapy is designed to help immobile patients unable to exert themselves at an intensity that delivers the rewards of physical activity.
Australian National University researchers could have already discovered the key to making it a reality.
They’ve identified unique molecular messages that travel to our brains and potentially our eyes immediately after exercise.
The team believes it may be possible to hijack these and bundle them into a vitamin-like supplement that delivers some of the benefits of physical activity.
Researchers based at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute found that by gradually reducing an enzyme in the brain called BACE1, they reversed the formation of amyloid plaques in the brains of mice with Alzheimer’s disease, improving their cognitive function. The scientists hope that this research will eventually produce drugs aimed at this enzyme in human brains. This discovery edges science closer to both a vaccine and a treatment for Alzheimer's Disease which, in an ageing population, is sorely needed.