Wall Street Journal (Internet / Print) 05/27/06 http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114866654030364389.html?mod=googlenews_wsj Carbon nanotubes have for more than a decade been prized by materials scientists. They've added them to batteries to increase their surface area and are developing light-emitting nanotubes for telecommunications. Now University of Texas researchers have demonstrated that mats of single-walled carbon nanotubes can communicate electrical signals to neurons, suggesting that the tubes could be used as an electrical interface between neural prosthetics -- devices used to replace damaged or missing nerves -- and the body. This is good news for those hoping to use nanotubes to stimulate or replace nerve cells in the eye, brain, and spinal cord. The Texas researchers grew rat neurons on thick mats of carbon nanotubes seeded on flexible plastic sheets. Instead of treating the mats like a foreign surface, neurons take well to the nanotubes, says Todd Pappas, director of sensory and molecular neuroengineering at the University of Texas Medical Branch, who led the research.