A team of scientists at the University of Los Angeles have successfully regrown brain tissue that was previously damaged by stroke. This might just be the kind of breakthrough needed to treat stroke patients in the future.

Dr S. Thomas Carmichael, a professor of neurology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA said, “We tested this in laboratory mice to determine if it would repair the brain and lead to a recovery in a model of stroke. The study indicated that new brain tissue can be regenerated in what was previously just an inactive brain scar after stroke.”

Unlike the liver or skin, the brain does not regenerate new connections, blood vessels or tissue structures after damage. Instead, the dead brain tissues are absorbed, leaving a cavity devoid of blood vessels, neurons or axons. This means that the brain has a limited capacity for recovery after a stroke.

The researchers applied a gel-like biomaterial that forms a sort of scaffold into which new neurons and blood vessels could grow thereby filling the stroke-induced cavity. This gel is infused with medications which stimulate blood vessel growth and suppress inflammation.

The stroke cavities contained regenerated brain tissue which also included new neuron connections after 16 weeks which had never been achieved before. The gel was later absorbed into the leaving healthy tissue behind. The mice’s ability to reach for food improved meaning a marked improvement in motor behaviour.

“The new axons could actually be working. Or the new tissue could be improving the performance of the surrounding, unharmed tissue,” said Tatiana Segura, a former professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at UCLA. She collaborated with the research.

This gel has revolutionized future stroke treatment. Researchers are now planning to study the gels efficiency for regrowing brain tissue way after a stroke. This latest breakthrough is just one in a series of many that bring hope to us. It strengthens our beliefs that there is hope for tomorrow. #Rewordit

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