UW: Eel-like protein used for brain control

SEATTLE — Researchers at the University of Washington School of Medicine and Washington University in St. Louis recently used a protein found in lamprey – the jawless fish similar to an eel – to turn off brain circuits.

The study, published May 11, looked into how certain brain neurons operate and to see if they can be controlled to help people suffering from addiction, depression and pain.

Researchers say the ability to turn off these brain circuits could lead to turning off mood disorders, including behaviors such as depression and addiction.

“Because of someone’s hard work of basic biological discovery, we have a new tool for medical research,” said Michael Bruchas, professor of anesthesiology and pain medicine at the University of Washington.