Muscles Can Respond to Light and Help Stroke Patients and Others

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The eyes tend to get all the credit for being the organs that are receptive to light, but scientists at Stanford University are fining that muscles can respond to light as well.  A study of mice whose nerve cells have been coated with specialized light-sensing proteins are helping researchers seeking treatment breakthroughs for people with physical disabilities caused by stroke, spinal cord injuries, or cerebral palsy.

The scientists are pioneers in the field of optogenetics, which uses a special gene derived from algae.  In this case, they are using this technology to control muscle contraction.

The study was published in Nature Medicine.