Magnetic coils might improve neural prostheses

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Neocortex stimulation is used to treat neurological disorders, including Parkinson’s disease and paralysis. Current electrode-based implants have limited efficacy. It is difficult to create precise patterns of neural activity, or to achieve consistent responses over time.  This can be addressed by magnetic stimulation, but until now, coils small enough to be implanted into the cortex were not thought strong enough to activate neurons. Shelley Fried at Harvard has created a microcoil design that  has been effective for activating cortical neurons and driving behavioral responses.


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