New stem cell therapy may aid the repair of damaged brains

May 31st, 2008 - 3:12 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, May 31 (IANS) Just born neuronal stem cells in an adult brain may have the potential to repair injuries that the brain might sustain. A new study, led by Laurence Katz of North Carolina University, suggests a way in which this might be achieved.

Neurogenesis, the process by which these stem cells are created, can be regulated through decrease in body temperature (hypothermia).

In rats, mild hypothermia was found to decrease the production of newly-born neurons, marking a step forward in the development of neuronal stem cell-based brain therapies.

Since the 1930s, brain damage from stroke, head injury, near drowning and cardiac arrest was considered to be permanent because of a lack of repair mechanisms like other parts of the body. However, discovery of neuronal stem cells in the adult brain challenges that belief.

“Many questions remain before we adequately understand how to control these cells to repair a damaged brain,” says Katz.

“However, the findings represent an important step in demonstrating that these cells can be controlled by simple external forces like hypothermia.”

This paper was presented Friday at the annual meeting of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine in Washington, DC.

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