Stem cells could help repair brain damage

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The Independent Online

science It may soon be possible to repair damage to the human brain by reactivating stem cells within the body that can grow on specially constructed "biological scaffolding" inserted into the brain, scientists say.

The hope is that the brain could be regenerated in the same way the human body can repair skin or bone. Mike Modo, of the Institute of Psychiatry in London, said that medical scaffolds made of synthetically made biological materials inserted into the brain could provide the structural framework for naturally existing stem cells to repair damaged regions caused by strokes or trauma. "If we have damage to the brain, we are trying to put biomaterials in there to provide a structure for these cells to attach and to start forming connections between each other and eventually, hopefully, to regenerate the tissue that has been lost," Dr Modo said.

More than 180,000 people a year in Britain suffer from brain damage caused by strokes, which is often permanent because there is no way of regenerating tissue to repair the cells that have been killed.