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We depend on electrical waves to regulate the rhythm of our heartbeat. When those signals go awry, the result is a potentially fatal arrhythmia.

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Now, a team of researchers from Oxford and Stony Brook universities has found a way to precisely control these waves – using light. Their results are published in the journal Nature Photonics.

Both cardiac cells in the heart and neurons in the brain communicate by electrical signals, and these messages of communication travel fast from cell to cell as 'excitation waves'. Interestingly, such waves are also found in a range of other processes in nature, from chemical reactions to yeast and amoebas.

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