A new study, which was recently published in the journal Science, demonstrated by stimulating neurons in the brain with the help of light, can cause hallucinations. The review is particularly important as scientists might be able to determine the connection between the brain and eyes and how information forms between the two, as well as to possibly aid people with visual problems to see.
In the 2000s, a team of scientists manipulated brain neurons of lab mice and made them to light on when the neurons are exposed to beams of light. After numerous experiments, the team succeeded in embedding images in the mice’s visual cortex. The visual cortex is the one that creates the whole image after it is given bits and pieces of info by the retinas.
The experiment had entailed presenting specific images to mice. These images were images of horizontal or of vertical bars. The mice were disciplined that every time an image of vertical stripes would appear, they had to lick a water tube.
Scientists Produced Hallucinations In Mice Using Light
What happened inside the mice’s little brains while they saw the images was that neurons would switch on every time the rodents recognized the vertical stripes. In every mouse’s brain, a total of 20 neurons would react when presented the specific image of vertical lines, precisely horizontal lines.
After determining the specific neurons that would react, the scientists darkened the room and put out the images of the stripes. Then, the team triggered only the neurons that lit up when the vertical stripes appeared. What did the mice do? They licked the water tube even though there were no images of vertical lines presented to them.
This experiment is a stepping stone for future research on how the brain could receive information even though the retinas do not transmit it to the visual cortex. This way, visually impaired people might take advantage of the technologies and devices that would be created to restore at least a part of their vision.