The New York Times reports on a new way to send electric pulses through the brain, which can be an effective treatment for Parkinson’s disease, depression, and other conditions.

The method, called temporal interference, involves beaming different electric frequencies, too high for neurons to respond to, from electrodes on the skull’s surface. The team found that where the currents intersected inside the brain, the frequencies interfered with each other, essentially canceling out all but the difference between them and leaving a low-frequency current that neurons in that location responded to, Dr. Boyden said.

“Very high frequency electronic fields are much faster than the brain can actually follow for the same reasons that you and I can’t hear sonar,” he said. “But if you deliver 1,000 hertz and 1,001 hertz to the brain, the neuron will react as if you were delivering 1 hertz. And only the region where the two interfere is where you get the signal.”

That means other regions would be unaffected by the electricity, in contrast to what happens with other surface techniques, like transcranial magnetic stimulation, a federally approved treatment for depression.

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