Coloured lights may soon be used as treatments for brain disorders such as epilepsy after researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found a new way to shut down brain activity.

Coloured lasers, which flash yellow and blue lights, may be able to turn off neurons that generate an electrical impulse abnormally, causing seizures, the BBC reports.

Light activates proteins which, in turn, lowers the voltage in the neurons and prevents them from generating an electrical signal, known as firing.

Lead researcher Ed Boyden said switching off different sets of neurons with varying colours allows scientists to understand how they work together to implement brain functions.

“These tools will help us understand how to control neural circuits, leading to new understanding and treatments for brain disorders,” Boyden said.