A new study has claimed that the brain can be made to teleport using laser beams. Researchers from University College London have been conducting experiments on mice in an attempt to discover the "hidden workings of memory" and how a person's "inner GPS" works.
The study, which was published in the journal Cell, explained that laser beams can be directed into the hippocampus, the area responsible for memory and learning to stimulate neurons called "place cells". The cells in the brain get active when an animal or a human being goes into a new environment, storing the location in the memory. During the experiment, scientists decided to put the mice in one location and give them a serving of sugar water.
The mice were then moved somewhere else, and laser beams were then used to activate the place cells that were storing the memory of the first location.
Scientists were able to reactivate, or retrieve, the memory of the location when the mice were given a reward, which saw the animals "mentally teleported" back to the first location. The study revealed the mice attempted to find the sugar water, as they believed they were in the first location, not the second.
The results aid in a deeper understanding of how memories are stored and the UCL scientists believe that the findings could eventually prove beneficial to develop new therapies for conditions like dementia and Alzheimer's disease, which affect memory. Dr. Nick Robinson from the UCL Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research said these results provide direct evidence that mice use information represented by place cell activity to guide their behaviour.