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Here’s How Scientists Are Using Optogenetics (And An Android App) To Cure Diabetes


Optogenetics Because health is wealth: the race to better man’s life health, well-being and all it entails is turning up in leaps and bonder. From nontechnology to cyber-technology and robotics, a lot is consistently being put in to ensure man lives a much better averagely healthy life; and this is where optogenetics comes in.

Coined from the greek word optiros meaning seen, optogenetics has been defined as a biological technique which involves the use of light to control cells in living tissue.

According to the Williams Medical textbook, in 2013, it was estimated that over 382 Million people throughout the world had diabetes. Diabetes, according to medical News Today describes a group metabolic diseases in which the person has high blood glucose (blood sugar), either because insulin production is inadequate, or because the body’s cells do not respond properly to insulin or both.

In a bid to further health, scientists are using optogenetics to treat diabetes. Even though optogenetics is still in its test level, and in fact still testing on mice, it is the way it works that is intriguing.

Some researchers in china are using an android powered smart phone and optogenetics to combate diabetes. The research on the mice revolves around the researchers engineering human cells with a light sensitive gene that is found in plants and produces insulin on cue when activated by wirelessly power LED lights. They inserted those lights and the designer cell into small, flexible disks. The disks that were then grafted onto the backs of the mice. By monitoring those lights, the researchers could watch the diabetic mice and the precisley controlled human cells to deliver insulin to the mice.

By monitoring the lights of the cells using a customized android- phone app, the researchers could controllably expose the mice to about hours of light each day, and amazingly in 15 days the insulin level of the mice were normal.

While optogenetics is still a growing field, the use of protein based cells to treat degenerative diseases is a very interesting prospect one that a synergy of technology and medicine should be willing to fully explore.

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